Simona Halep of Romania will overtake the World No. 1 ranking on the WTA Tour on Monday. She defeated Jelena Ostapenko in the semifinals of the Beijing draw to qualify for the tournament's final. Current No. 1 Garbine Muguruza was also in the draw, however, she fell early this week. Halep could still win the final against France's Caroline Garcia, however, that result would only pad her lead atop the WTA's rankings. Even if the Romanian should lose in the final she would still overtake the Spaniard.

Muguruza's stay was short

Muguruza had ascended to the No. 1 ranking only a very short time ago. Her main result this season is her title from Wimbledon, a title that really helped her surge to top spot in the world.

But it was only in early September that she claimed the top ranking. Despite her Wimbledon title, the Spaniard does not normally do too well in the lower-tiered events. Meanwhile, Halep has enjoyed a strong season in both Grand Slams and regular tour events. She does not have a title in the majors, but she did make the Roland Garros final. Furthermore, she performed well in several of the lower-tiered tournaments and that has made all the difference for her.

Halep claims the No. 1 ranking after multiple chances to do so in other tournaments. She will also become the 5th player to claim the top ranking despite having never won a Grand Slam yet at any point in her career. Besides Halep, none of Caroline Wozniacki, Karolina Pliskova, Dinara Safina, nor Jelena Jankovic have ever won a major despite holding the top spot.

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Safina is the only one in that group that is retired and the fortunes of the others may still change.

Short-term No. 1?

When it comes to predicting how long Halep's tenure as No. 1 will last, the matter is quite tricky. For certain, how she does this Sunday in the final will have an impact. As of the completion of the Beijing semifinals, Halep holds just a slim 40-point lead over Muguruza. But Pliskova and even Elina Svitolina are within striking distance of the top ranking with the few events that remain in the 2017 WTA season. There truly is a major race for the top spot to play out in the weeks ahead.

The WTA Finals in Singapore is the event that could swing matters quite significantly. That tournament features only the best players from the 2017 season. Due to the small field of the tournament, in many cases, the players that are in contention for the No. 1 ranking may end up going head to head in several matches. The WTA Finals will take place late this month, between October 22nd and October 29th from Thailand.