Angelique Kerber is one win away from becoming women’s world No 1 after reaching the final of the Cincinnati Open.
The Wimbledon runner-up and Olympic Games silver medallist beat Romania’s Simona Halep 6-3 6-4 to reach the final, where she will take on 15th seed Karolina Pliskova.
Kerber needs to beat the Czech to end Serena Williams’ 183-week stay at the top of the rankings, which is three weeks short of the record set by Steffi Graf.
“I have still, one match to go,” said Kerber.
“I would not think about this the whole week. Everybody’s asking me about that. If it happens, it will be amazing, but still I have to focus on the next match against a real tough opponent.”
Halep appeared to be badly affected by a rain delay in the first set as she was broken to trail 5-3 in a pivotal game.
Kerber built a 4-0 lead in the second as well before Halep responded with three successive games, but she was never able to get back level and a mis-hit backhand in the 10th game gave Kerber victory.
Pliskova swept aside Spain’s Garbine Muguruza 6-1 6-3 in a powerful display in the first semi-final.
“I know I beat [Muguruza] in the last two matches, so I knew it’s going to be tough for her to beat me if I play well or if I play solid,” Pliskova said.
“I was not thinking about that she’s a French Open champion. This you cannot take on the court.”