Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 8 December 2019

Naomi Osaka remains women's No 1 as Simona Halep misses out in Miami

World No 2 beaten by Karolina Pliskova in the semi-finals of the Masters 1000 event

It was a disappointing night for Simona Halep. AP Photo
It was a disappointing night for Simona Halep. AP Photo

Simona Halep missed the chance to return to world number one as a devastating display from Karolina Pliskova sealed the Czech's passage into the Miami Open WTA final 7-5, 6-1.

Romania's Halep would have reclaimed the top spot in women's tennis if she had reached Saturday's showpiece following current number one Naomi Osaka's early exit and Petra Kvitova falling to Ashleigh Barty in the last eight.

But Pliskova, the world No 7, had other ideas, rattling off an incredible nine games in a row to blitz Halep and set up an intriguing battle with Australian Barty - a 6-3, 6-3 winner over Estonian Anett Kontaveit.

"It wasn't easy waiting for so long but I managed to stay aggressive," said Pliskova, who hit 29 winners to Halep's 18 in the match that finished after 1 am thanks to a series of rain delays. "Ashleigh is a good player, but I am excited for the final.

The South Florida weather played havoc with Thursday's schedule at Hard Rock Stadium, no more so than when the rains returned with Pliskova on the brink of a brilliant win.

Play was initially halted at 3-3 in the in the first.

When they resumed, Halep edged ahead 5-3 before Pliskova roared back, taking the first set and a 5-0 lead in the second before rain forced them from the court again.

Halep, who recovered from 1-5 down in the second set in her quarter-final match against Wang Qiang, held serve upon the restart.

But in the very next game, Pliskova served out to ruin Halep's hope of reclaiming the No 1 ranking she lost when Japan's Osaka won the Australian Open earlier this year.

Updated: March 29, 2019 12:45 PM

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