Tennis

Halep loses sleep, final after gaining No. 1 spot

Romanian 'too excited' after clinching top ranking, Garcia in frame for WTA Finals

Simona Halep admitted she was too excited to sleep after surging to world No. 1 and it affected her performance in yesterday's China Open final, which she lost.

The 26-year-old was beaten by France's Caroline Garcia 6-4, 7-6 (7/3), a day after ousting Garbine Muguruza as the top-ranked woman by reaching the Beijing final.

Halep will be confirmed today as the first Romanian to top the WTA rankings, while Garcia has overtaken Johanna Konta in the race for the eighth and final spot for the WTA Finals in Singapore from Oct 22-29.

Halep is the fifth woman to hold the top spot this year, after Angelique Kerber, Serena Williams, Karolina Pliskova and Muguruza.

She refused to let yesterday's defeat spoil her week and admitted it had been an emotional 24 hours, during which the tennis community united to congratulate her.

"I couldn't sleep very well," said Halep. "In the morning, I was like, okay, now I have to focus again, to go on court and work, which I did.

"It was very good (getting to the top spot).

"It was a very good step, important step.

"But inside I was too happy."

“I couldn’t sleep very well. In the morning, I was like, okay, now I have to focus again, to go on court and work, which I did. It was very good (getting to the top spot). But inside I was too happy.”Simona Halep on how her No. 1 ranking affected her performance

She added that her body was still sore after defeating Jelena Ostapenko 6-2, 6-4 in Saturday's semi-finals.

"Even if (it) was not three sets or something like that, I just felt a little bit over inside because of the happiness," said Halep.

Her next goal is a maiden Grand Slam and she knows she will now be a target for the rest of the women's circuit to beat.

“I was like, seriously, this really happened?”Caroline Garcia on how she felt after winning the China Open

"Like I am always when I play against No. 1 in the world, I always want to win," she said, refusing to be downcast about her defeat by the in-form Garcia.

"Gives maybe more energy, more confidence, to play without fear."

Meanwhile, Garcia made it five WTA crowns in all with this China Open victory, adding to the Wuhan Open title she won last weekend.

The Frenchwoman's feat was all the more remarkable because she was carrying a leg injury that has required frequent on-court treatment and completed a mammoth three-set quarter-final win well past midnight on Friday evening.

The 23-year-old, who is set to rise from No. 15 to No. 9 in the world, sank to her knees on the hard court when she finally sealed victory in the second-set tie-break.

"I was like, seriously, this really happened?" Garcia said when asked what was on her mind when she slumped to her knees.

"It was such an amazing two weeks, it went so fast.

"I have the feeling I started these tournaments yesterday or two days ago."

With Garcia's victory, Konta would need to reach next week's Kremlin Cup final to qualify for the season-ending WTA Finals. - WIRE SERVICES

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