Simona Halep enjoyed a strong victory on Saturday at the 2017 Western & Southern Open. She defeated Sloane Stephens in their semifinal match to advance to the Sunday final. Halep will face Garbine Muguruza in the championship match. Should the Romanian win she would be the world's No. 1 player on Monday. Should Muguruza win then the Spaniard would not be far behind the top ranking herself.

World No. 1's woes continue

Muguruza eliminated Karolina Pliskova, the world's current No. 1 ranked player, in the semifinal round. The result continues a trend that is now over a year old. Pliskova has not won a title since getting to No.

1, albeit only in two tournaments. But Angelique Kerber didn't win a single title during her lengthy reign on top. You have to go back to Serena Williams winning Wimbledon 2016 for a time when the best player in the world actually won a title as the No. 1 player. Given that there are plenty of low-tiered tournaments that is a surprising trend on the WTA Tour.

Halep and Muguruza have not played in that many matches. Their head-to-head series goes back to 2014 and 2015 when they met three times. The Spaniard holds the 2-1 edge in their series. Furthermore, Muguruza has beaten Halep both times that they have played on the hard-court surface, the surface that Cincinnati is being played on. However, an interesting stat heading into the final has to do with the title counts between the two players.

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Halep is better in the late rounds

Muguruza has won the more prestigious titles as she has won both Wimbledon and Roland Garros. However, all totaled the Spaniard has just four titles in her career to date. She has fallen in the late rounds of numerous tournaments in the past. Halep is not that much older than Muguruza, and yet she has won 15 titles on tour. That's a large amount for a player that is just 25 years old. Where Muguruza has had plenty of trouble closing out the smaller tournaments, Halep has generally done well in the late rounds.

Muguruza has to be judged as the superior talent due to the Grep wand Slam titles. That she doesn't always bring her best game is clear, but since she's in the Cincinnati final, it's also clear that she came ready to play this week. She may make Halait wait a little while longer before getting to No. 1 if the Romanian gets there at all. There are a lot of players in the mix right now vying for that top spot. The top ranking will likely go to whoever claims the titles in Cincinnati and at the upcoming US Open.