Simona Halep will finally claim the WTA's number-one ranking for the first time after beating Jelena Ostapenko 6-2 6-4 to reach the final of the China Open on Saturday.

Prior to her last-four tie in Beijing, Halep had come within one win of topping the rankings on three occasions in 2017, only to fall short each time.

The most painful of those near-misses came at Roland Garros in June, when the Romanian lost the French Open final to Ostapenko after leading by a set and a break.


Yet it was a different story on this occasion as Halep, 26, continued an excellent week that had already seen her avenge recent losses to Maria Sharapova and Daria Kasatkina.

As a result of her triumph, Halep will now replace Garbine Muguruza as world number one on Monday. She is the first Romanian to reach top spot in the WTA rankings.

WATCH: It's my special day: Halep on World No. 1 title

"Words cannot describe how I feel now," said Halep in an on-court interview.

"Number one in the world — it's amazing. I will never forget this day."

Ostapenko came into the match in fine form, only to struggle badly on serve in the opening set.

The Latvian's errors were ruthlessly exploited as Halep moved ahead before breaking again in the fifth game of set two. 

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A typically bold Ostapenko briefly rallied, immediately getting back on level terms and then racing through a service game to raise memories of her stunning fightback at Roland Garros.

However, Halep was able to keep her composure and a double fault from Ostapenko gave the second seed the chance to serve out the match - an opportunity that was taken confidently.