Halep confident of French Open triumph
Simona Halep is confident she can end her wait for a first grand slam title and become world number one by beating Jelena Ostapenko in the French Open final on Saturday.
Halep will play in her second major final this weekend after beating the powerful Karolina Pliskova 6-4 3-6 6-3 in the second semi-final on Court Philippe Chatrier.
The tournament favourite was too canny for Pliskova, mixing her tactics up with great effect in an astute display at Roland Garros.
Halep lost in the 2014 final in Paris, but has belief that she can lift the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen three years later and replace Angelique Kerber at the top of the rankings.
The third seed from Romania said: "I will play for two things: My first grand slam and number one in the world. It's a big challenge, a big chance.
"I think I have the game. I have the mentality to win, but it's going to be tough. I expect her to give everything she has, to hit all the balls, to play with confidence. But I'm confident, as well.
"I'm ready to face her, and I'm ready to face another final. Yeah, it's a big challenge, it's a big thing. If it's going to happen, it's going to happen, two things at the same time. It's going to be amazing."
Pliskova would have been the top-ranked player if she had reached the final, but expects Halep to achieve that feat by bringing Ostapenko back down to earth after she beat Timea Bacsinszky in the battle of the birthday girls.
The Czech said: "I don't want to be frustrated after this match, because I lost to somebody who is the best on clay right now at the time and in a semi-final at Roland Garros.
"So unfortunately I could have had a different draw or she [Halep] could have lost yesterday [against Elina Svitolina], which would be probably better for me, but it didn't happen.
"That's how it is and I think it's a good fight for world number one. I think she has a big chance now to win the final, she's going to deserve it."