Second-seeded Simona Halep moved into the China Open semifinals and kept alive her chance of reaching the No. 1 ranking with a 6-2, 6-1 win over Daria Kasatkina on Friday.
Halep needs to reach to the final in Beijing, and not lose to third-seeded Elena Svitolina, to bump No. 1 Garbine Muguruza from the top spot.
Halep has never held the No. 1 ranking but has had a few missed opportunities, most notably when she lost in the French Open final to Jelena Ostapenko in June.
Her run in Beijing so far has also included a 6-2, 6-2 win over Maria Sharapova, which ended a seven-match losing streak to Russian, including a first-round upset at the US Open last month.
Halep's quarterfinal victory over 34th-ranked Kasatkina avenged a straight-sets loss in their last outing at Wuhan last week.
In the semifinals, she'll play either ninth-seeded Ostapenko or Sorana Cirstea.