Wuhan - World number five Simona Halep downed Madison Keys
in the quarter finals of the Wuhan Open on Thursday to book her place in the
elite season-end WTA Final for the third consecutive year.
Big serving Keys took an early lead in the first set,
breaking the Romanian's serve twice, but was unable to maintain the momentum as
Halep equalled and then took the set 6-4.
Halep - who turned 25 this week - dropped just two games to
take the second set and confirm her place in the eight-player season finale in
Only world number one Angelique Kerber and Serena Williams
have so far qualified for the highly lucrative tournament, and the field
remains wide open for the remaining five spots.
Keys, 21, rose to a career-high ranking of nine after
winning her second career title in June - making her the first American other
than the Williams' sisters to make the top 10 in more than a decade.
She was knocked out of her next two tournaments by Halep
before just missing out on a bronze medal at the Rio Olympics when she lost to
two time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova.
Halep will meet either Kvitova or Briton Johanna Konta in the semi-finals on Friday.
Results from the fifth day of the Wuhan Open on Thursday (x denotes seeding):
Simona Halep (ROM x4) bt Madison Keys (USA x8) 6-4, 6-2
Dominika Cibulkova (SVK) bt Karolina Pliskova (CZE) 6-2, 6-2
Barbora Zahlavova Strycova (CZE) bt Jelena Jankovic (SRB) 1-6, 6-4, 7-5