Beijing: Rafael Nadal will play for his sixth title of the year and Simona Halep took over the top ranking by reaching the final in the China Open.
Nadal defeated Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria 6-3, 4-6, 6-1 on Saturday in the semifinals. Halep beat Jelena Ostapenko 6-2, 6-4 to become the first Romanian No. 1 when the rankings are released Monday.
The Spaniard will play either Zverev or Nick Kyrgios of Australia in Sunday’s final.
Nadal, the 2005 China Open champion, has a tour-leading 60 match wins in 2017. Nadal held serve at love in his first three service games against Dimitrov and saved two break points in the seventh game.
Dimitrov hit a backhand crosscourt winner to take the second set on Nadal’s serve in the 10th game. Nadal took immediate control of the third set, racing to a 4-0 lead.
Halep only had to reach the final this week — and not lose to Elina Svitolina of Ukraine in the final — to knock Garbine Muguruza from the top spot. Svitolina was ousted by unseeded Caroline Garcia of France in a marathon quarterfinal encounter.
Halep will play the winner of the semifinal between Garcia and Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic. The Romanian will be looking for her second title of the year after winning in Madrid.
Sania-Peng knocked out
Sania Mirza and her doubles partner Shuai Peng’s campaign in the China Open ended after they suffered a 6-2, 1-6, 5-10 defeat in the semifinal to Martina Hingis and Chan Yung-jan here on Saturday.