Cahill guides third player to top of the world

Simona Halep is the new No.1 in the world.
Simona Halep is the new No.1 in the world.

SOUTH Australian Darren Cahill has the rare distinction of guiding three different players to the world No 1 ranking after Simon Halep supplanted Garbine Muguruza atop the WTA standings.

Halep's 6-2 6-4 China Open triumph over French Open tormentor Jelena Ostapenko ordained the Romanian as the 25th different woman to hold top spot since computer rankings were introduced in 1975.

And it presented yet another accolade for the immensely respected Cahill.

The former US Open semi-finalist guided Lleyton Hewitt into history as the youngest season-ending world No 1 in 2001.

Two years later, he helped Andre Agassi return to the top of the rankings heap as a 33-year-old - the oldest man, at the time, to do so.

Mixing commentary obligations with coaching, Cahill briefly parted from Halep this year after an awkward on-court conversation in the US.

Simona Halep with coach Darren Cahill.
Simona Halep with coach Darren Cahill.

He returned during the European claycourt season after Halep had addressed attitudinal issues and the pair repeatedly shaped to clinch the ranking - and a first major.

While Halep is still without an elusive grand slam title, she has now crested the rankings summit.

"It's very emotional, I think it's the first time I cried on court,” Halep said during the ranking presentation ceremony.

"It's amazing that I could do this. My team, everyone at watching, and I want to thank everyone. It's my special day.

"When I was five (ranking) points away, I felt that I want it more and more. I try just to not think too much about that, to stop thinking, because you feel the pressure when you're thinking too much.

"I will never forget this day or this tournament. I always get great support in China, and I'm waiting for tomorrow - the tournament is not finished.”

Halep will bid for the title in the Chinese capital today against Frenchwoman Caroline Garcia, who beat Petra Kvitova 6-3 7-5.

Topics:  simona halep

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