Tennis

Naomi Osaka clings to top spot as Simona Halep cuts gap

AFP-JIJI

Naomi Osaka narrowly retained her No. 1 ranking on Monday ahead of Simona Halep, after the Romanian missed the chance to reclaim the top spot following her defeat in the Madrid Open final.

The 21-year-old Osaka lost in the quarterfinals in the Spanish capital, but will stay at the summit for at least another week as Halep was beaten 6-4, 6-4 by Kiki Bertens.

The Dutchwoman became the first woman to win Madrid without dropping a set and climbed to a career-high ranking of fourth following the biggest title of her career.

Angelique Kerber moved up one place to third, while last year’s Madrid champion Petra Kvitova slipped three spots to fifth.

Switzerland’s Belinda Bencic continued her resurgence by jumping from 18th to 15th after beating Osaka on her run to the semifinals.

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