Miami Open: Simona Halep – stunning comeback to reach semi-finals. One match away from regaining WTA no.1 position

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No.2 seed Simona Halep remains on course to retake the World No.1 at the Miami Open after a 6-4, 7-5 victory over No.18 seed Wang Qiang in one hour and 37 minutes – in which she had to recover a 1-5 deficit and save three set points in the second set.

It is the Romanian’s second win in as many meetings with fellow 27-year-old Wang in the March hard court swing, following her 7-5, 6-1 triumph in the fourth round of Indian Wells last year, and puts her just one win away from moving back up to the top spot two months after being deposed by Naomi Osaka, wtatennis.com informs.

Simona Halep will face Karolina Pliskova in the next match.

In a match characterized by probing baseline rallies, it was Halep who proved more successful at opening up the court and retaining her consistency over the longer exchanges. With neither player able to hit through each other early in the point, the Roland Garros champion was able to gradually shift from neutral into aggressive, steering the ball around the court until Wang was unable to keep up – finding particular joy by wrong footing the Chinese No.1 repeatedly.

Simona Halep has finished the last two seasons as the WTA Year-End World No.1, and that experience was on display as she discussed possibly reclaiming the top spot with another win at the Miami Open.

“I just found out from my coach that I need one more match to be No.1 again,” she said after a 6-4, 7-5 quarterfinal win over Wang Qiang. “I think it’s pretty much in my head, and I’m happy that I’m in this position again.

“It gives me confidence, because from the two months of the off-season, I didn’t believe I would be so close again so fast. So it’s going to be a big challenge, but I like to play with the pressure. So I hope tomorrow I play my best.”

The No.1 Ranking will belong to either current No.1 Naomi Osaka or No.3 Simona Halep after the Miami Open. Simona Halep kept her No.1 chase alive on Wednesday, after mounting a big second-set comeback to defeat China’s Wang Qiang 6-4, 7-5 to advance to her first Miami semifinal since 2015.

By advancing to the semifinals, Halep can overtake Osaka by advancing to her first Miami Open final. Otherwise, Osaka will maintain her hold on the No.1 ranking going into the clay season.

Halep most recently occupied the top spot in January, before Osaka overtook her by winning the Australian Open title.

Niculescu/Spears defeated in doubles quarter-finals

The pair made up by Monica Niculescu and Abigail Spears (US) was eliminated on Wednesday, in the quarter=finals of the doubles event at Miami Open, by the pair Samantha Stosur/Shuan Zhang 3-6, 7-6 (4), 6-10.

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