China Open in Beijing, the closing chapter of the Premier Mandatory session in 2017 is set to provide us with a huge blockbuster. The first semifinal setup is out for scrutiny as Simona Halep will face Jelena Ostapenko for a place in the final. It's going to be their second WTA level meeting and the first one since that hard-to-forget 2017 French Open final that has put the 20-year-old Latvian on the Grand Slam winners' inventory. The stakes are also high as the Romanian is trying to close the gap on the world No. 1 slot. If Elina Svitolina loses today over Caroline Garcia al that Halep needs to is to take her revenge on Ostapenko and the summit will be in her pocket.

Simona Halep has navigated through a tough draw

The second seed in Beijing, the Romanian had to survive to an early blockbuster as she met with Maria Sharapova in the third round. It was a straight set win for Halep, her first over the Russian in eight meetings, that seems to have unchained her fighting spirit for good. Earlier today, she dismantled Daria Kasatkina 6-2 6-1 at the end of a solid display of tennis. Kasatkina is the same player that knocked Halep out of Wuhan last week.

Analyzing Halep;s tennis output is rather easy to observe how things have changed. Prevailing over Sharapova may have helped her to regain that confidence. Therefore, she is into her first ever semifinal at China Open in Beijing and she finds herself only two matches away from the world No.

1 seat and the second Premier Mandatory title of the year.

Jelena Ostapenko edged Sorana Cirstea in two tight sets

Ranked 44th in the world, Sorana Cirstea, 27, delivered Beijing's biggest shock by stunning the former world No. 1 Karolina Pliskova in the previous rounds. The odds put her in the same fighting box with Jelena Ostapenko (8 WTA), her newest doubles partner.

A month ago Ostapenko got past Cirstea in the round 64 at the US Open by 6-4 6-4. Today, the story repeated itself with the Latvian holding her spot perfectly against Romania's No. 2 Cirstea. It would have been an all-around Romanian semifinal but the Latvian seems to have made her own scenario. Thus, she will give Halep the chance for a replay of that French Open final.

The other half of the draw has already put Petra Kvitova in the semis. The Cezch tennis star got past Barbora Strycova in straight sets and awaits the winner of Elina Svitolina vs Caroline Garcia next. Garcia is having her little moment of glory during the Asian leg. She has won the title in Wuhan last week and her winning streak is getting longer in Beijing.