Simona Halep defeated Shaparova for the first time în her career

Maria Sharapova takes a selfie with fans after her Round Two victory over Ekaterina Makarova in Beijing China yesterday. PICs  GETTY IMAGES AFP

The victory was the Romanian's first in eight career matches against Sharapova and helped her avenge a first-round defeat at the U.S. Open.

She is the first Romanian player to claim the top honour and will be the 25th world No.1 since rankings began in 1975.

Twice-Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova fought off fatigue to dominate Czech compatriot Barbora Strycova 6-3 6-4 and reach her third Beijing semi-final. I tell you one, only one. Ostapenko had a chance to pull it back in game 6 but her backhand hit the top of the net and landed long, and Halep moved 4-2 ahead after 23 minutes.

The Romanian beat French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko 6-2, 6-4 to make her way into the final where she will face the victor of Petra Kvitova and Caroline Garcia.

The 26-year-old has famously not won a Grand Slam and will, at least for now, become the fifth No. 1 to not win a major, but she has reached two French Open finals and has checked nearly every other box.

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"I think she played an incredible match, probably the best she's played against me in all of our previous meetings", said Sharapova, who won the China Open in 2014.

After not playing Maria Sharapova in two years, Simona Halep played against the Russian for the second time in six weeks. It's the best moment in my life and I want just to keep it. In the quarter-finals, she meets the victor between 11th-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland and Russian Daria Kasatkina.

In the battle of the Czechs, Petra Kvitova beat Barbora Strycova 6-3, 6-4 and will face the victor of the late match between Svitolina and France's Caroline Garcia.

French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia qualified for the season-ending WTA Finals in Singapore with a 6-3 7-5 win over Australia's Samantha Stosur in round two. Halep will be making her fourth straight appearance in the Republic.

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