Simona Halep will turn 26 years old on September 27th. One of the most consistent WTA players throughout the past two years, she will resume her season by making her first official appearance since New York at Wuhan, a Premier 5 event. Given the number of points she has already amassed, she may become the new world No. 1 at the end of the current week. It would make the perfect birthday present while simultaneously closing a gruelling chapter for her this season. So far, she came within inches of clinching the summit, but each time she saw her bid being terminated due to various reasons.

She will also need a short run from Garbine Muguruza's side as the current world No. 1 leads the upper half of the draw with Simona residing in the second part of it.

Simona Halep could take advantage as many big names failed in their opening matches

The early stages in Wuhan saw names like Angelique Kerber, Johanna Konta, Madison Keys, Petra Kvitova or Sloane Stephens failing to get past their inaugural matches. Regarding the bottom half of the draw, after today's session, Halep got rid of Angelique Kerber and Madison Keys. The Romanian tennis star will open her campaign on Chinese soil by facing Daria Kasatkina of Russia. Ranked 31st in the world, Kasatkina got past Alison Riske (51 WTA) in the previous round.

So far, in head to head stats, Halep leads the Russian by 2-0.

If she gets past the young tennis star from Russia, the second seeded Halep will face the winner of Ekaterina Makarova (35 WTA) vs Lauren Davis (43 WTA). The quarterfinals may bring Dominika Cibulkova, seeded seventh, on the other side of the net, or maybe Caroline Garcia, who has shown some interesting game while recovering from a set down to stun Angelique Kerber.

Last year, Halep reached the semis where she lost to the eventual champion Petra Kvitova. So, there is a substantial amount of points to defend. If she matches her last year's result, she may face Svetlana Kuznetsova, Caroline Wozniacki or other surprising appearance from that quarter of the draw.

Halep will run out of time soon

Several years ago, as she was building her way up to the WTA tennis top, Simona Halep was regarded as a future ruler of the game. But, the expectations were partially met in the years to come as she has never reached the summit yet. A two-time French Open runner-up, (2014, 2017) she has been struggling with injuries and mental issues over the past few years. Moreover, once she put her feet in the proximity of the summit, she failed to deliver on multiple occasions. As the window of opportunity seems to get thinner, she should act soon or regret it later.