WASHINGTON, DC, USA - Simona Halep's quest for the No.1 ranking could get a boost this week at the Citi Open, where the World No.2 took a wildcard to begin her North American summer hardcourt season.
After opening her D.C. campaign with a win over Sloane Stephens, Halep trails Pliskova by 951 points and can continue to narrow that gap with each win in Washington D.C:
How Halep can close the gap:
Quarterfinal: -921 points
Semifinal: -871 points
Final: -801 points
Champion: -701 points
The 25-year-old has had an opportunity to become the first Romanian woman to hold the No.1 ranking in each of her last three tournaments, first at the French Open, where she finished as the runner-up to Jelena Ostapenko, then at the Aegon International. Her best chance came at Wimbledon, where she was two points away from advancing to the semifinals, which would have clinched the top spot, but fell in three sets to Johanna Konta.
"It’s not bad that I’m so close to No. 1," Halep said at the Citi Open. "But some people see the thing only that I’m not there yet. I see it a little bit different. I’m disappointed that I couldn’t, but I still see the positives. It’s important that I’m close.
"So I feel confident, but now it’s going to be something different with hard court, and I have to reset."
Halep cannot overtake World No.1 Karolina Pliskova this week but a run to the final in D.C. would put the No.1 ranking in play next week at the Rogers Cup in Toronto. Halep would need to reach the final in Washington DC this week and win the title in Toronto -- she won the Rogers Cup in Montreal last year -- to have a chance to overtake Pliskova at No.1.
If Halep is runner-up in Washington D.C., she would need to win the title in Toronto and would need Pliskova to lose her opening match.
If Halep wins the title in Washington D.C., she would need to win the title in Toronto and would need Pliskova to lose before the quarterfinals.
The No.1 ranking will be on the line again at Cincinnati as Pliskova is defending 900 points as the reigning champion, while Halep reached the semifinals last year and will be defending 350 points.