REUTERS - Second seed Simona Halep will face Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza in the final of the Cincinnati Open after they both won their semi-finals easily on Saturday.
Halep crushed Sloane Stephens 6-2 6-1, while Muguruza beat top seed Karolina Pliskova 6-3 6-2.
Victory in the final would give the Romanian the world’s top ranking, moving past Pliskova.
“I think it’s something special to get number one in the world,” Halep told reporters. “Everyone can get to number one now. The ranking is close. I really want that.”
Halep needed just 54 minutes to end the run of Stephens, who had enjoyed strong form following her return at Wimbledon after an 11-month absence with a foot injury.
Halep said she believed Muguruza, who beat American Venus Williams for her Wimbledon crown last month, is the favorite for the final.
“I know that she has a lot of confidence coming with title from Wimbledon, so she’s favorite, in my opinion,” Halep said.
”She’s hitting the ball strong, but I had already two matches, so I know how the ball is gonna come.
“But still, I want just to do the same and not thinking about the result. I just want to go there and enjoy the moment.”
Muguruza had lost six successive matches to Pliskova, who made 28 unforced errors and ended the match when a forehand sailed long on the fifth match point.
In stark contrast to two of her earlier matches in the tournament, Muguruza advanced to Sunday’s final in less than 80 minutes.
She endured a two-hour, 45-minute three-set win over Russia’s Svetlana Kuznetsova on Friday that followed a two-hour, 18-minute win over American Madison Keys on Thursday.
Reporting by Andrew Both in Greensboro, North Carolina; Editing by Christian Radnedge and Pritha Sarkar