Simona Halep was a victory away from becoming world number 1 3 times this season and she couldn't stand the pressure, losing all those matches, but that all changed here in Beijing.
However, Halep got the job done on Saturday, beating Ostapenko 6-2 6-4 to achieve a notable feat.
Asked by AFP what those were, she smiled: "I tell you one, only one: to win a Grand Slam, which you know".
Halep will dethrone Garbine Muguruza when the new rankings are released next week and becomes the third woman to take top spot since the middle of July following short spells for the Spaniard and Karolina Pliskova.
Second seed Simona Halep has moved into the China Open semi-finals to keep alive her hopes of reaching the No.1 ranking with a 6-2 6-1 win over Daria Kasatkina.
But Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia had other plans, upsetting Halep to win the French Open.
She displayed an nearly flawless play in Beijing, where back in 2012 she lost to Sharapova in two sets. "I'm already happy. I love these big matches anyway, so I will do my best tomorrow".
Halep, who past year was defeated in the round of 16 in Beijing, won 149,138 U.S. dollars and 215 WTA singles points.
Halep's all-round game was simply far too good for Sharapova, who made 20 unforced errors in the opening set alone. "It's my first victory against her and I just want to enjoy the moment".
Garcia came through a grueling contest that stretched for three hours and 21 minutes against world number three Elina Svitolina of Ukraine in the day's final match.
In the semi-finals, she'll play ninth-seeded Ostapenko. Halep will be making her fourth straight appearance in the Republic.
Halep squares off against Caroline Garcia of France in the China Open finals.
In addition to doubling her winners (12) to unforced errors (6), the Romanian also served very well, which was unquestionably an area that Sharapova had been able to exploit in their seven prior meetings.