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Beyond the Baseline

Simona Halep makes history with rise to No. 5 in WTA rankings

Simona Halep Simona Halep is seeking her second title of the year and eighth since last June. (Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

INDIAN WELLS, Calif. -- BNP Paribas Open semifinalist Simona Halep will rise to a career-high No. 5 in next week's WTA Tour rankings, the highest position ever for a Romanian woman. The tour says the top five on Monday will be Serena Williams, Li Na, Agnieszka Radwanska, Victoria Azarenka and Halep.

Halep is No. 7 this week, but she will pass No. 5 Maria Sharapova and No. 6 Angelique Kerber after making her first Premier Mandatory semifinal. In January, the 22-year-old joined her manager, former French Open champion Virginia Ruzici, who peaked at No. 8, and former U.S. Open semifinalst Irina Spirlea, who reached No. 7, as the only top-10 Romanian women.

"It means a lot," Halep told the WTA website of her rankings milestone. "I'm now the best Romanian in history for rankings. But my goal is to win a Grand Slam, and then maybe I'll be the best, because Virginia won the French Open."

Halep won the first six titles of her career last year in a breakout season. She has continued her good form this season, making the quarterfinals of the Australian Open -- her best result at a Grand Slam tournament -- and winning the Qatar Open. She's won four matches at the BNP Paribas Open despite complaining of fatigue. Halep will play Radwanska in the semifinals on Friday.

"My game is complete," Halep said of her playing style. "I can play good with both [the forehand and backhand]. I don't serve really well, but I keep working that point. And I move well, so I stay close to the baseline. I think I have a beautiful tennis I like to play. Maybe [because] I'm very relaxed on court now, that was the secret to win a lot of tournaments. I just want to keep going."
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