The WTA top 5 is such a crowded place, thus creating many possibilities for a new world No. 1 in the upcoming weeks. The WTA Premier 5 event in Cincinnati has been having a thrilling path with most of the top seeds surviving up to this point. Simona Halep, 2017 French Open runner-up and one of the most constant WTA players over the past three seasons has been around the summit for several months now. Unable to get rid of that final obstacle, she aims big in Cincinnati, the last major test before US Open Tennis Championships.

In the round of 16, she was able to survive Anastasija Sevastova edging the Latvian in two tight sets. It was her fourth win in a row against Sevastova as she did that winning eight sets in a row. It was a hard-acquired victory at the end of a below-average tennis display from Halep's side. The hardest test is set to be the next match as Johanna Konta will stand at the other end. The Brit is trying to build up some momentum especially after scoring a compelling win against Dominika Cibulkova.

Halep has the chance to avenge

Simona Halep and Johanna Konta were at the centre of some interesting matches in 2017.

Earlier this year, during the first American outdoor hard swing, Halep face Konta in Miami's last eight stages. It was a shocking match for the Romanian who basically let herself down after losing the second set. It's well-known that meltdown-episode with her unable to discuss rationally with Darren Cahill during an on-court-coaching. But that was also the turning point of her season as she went down cruising throughout the clay court swing. But Konta was always somewhere deep in her mind and they had another encounter, this time at Wimbledon, in the last eight stages.

Once more, after having the match in her hands, Halep went on losing in. In Cincinnati, the stakes are at a similar level. Halep is trying to surpass Pliskova, while Konta aims a top 4 spot entering US Open.

Konta with a steady progress

The current season has put Johanna Konta on the confirmations' list. Winning her first Premier Mandatory event earlier this year in Miami and reaching the semis at 2017 Wimbledon Championships are the highlights of her season, at least for now. She had a slow start on North American outdoor hard, but she seems likely to grow in the next few weeks.

Having a deep run on sight for the US Open, she has to get past Simona Halep in Cincinnati first. The Romanian is aiming to reach her third straight semifinal at Western & Southern Open. At 26, Konta has made a name for herself quite recently. Her breakthrough performance occurred at 2015 US Open when she made it to the fourth round. She matched that outcome one year later, so the upcoming edition might have Konta going at least one step deeper into the contest.

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