Published: Wed, January 03, 2018
Sport | By Wendy Sparks

Halep, Sharapova off to flying starts

Halep, Sharapova off to flying starts

Sharapova did not let the momentum slip in the deciding set, winning the final four games of the match to prevail in two hours and 22 minutes.

Unseeded Maria Sharapova joins world No. 1 Simona Halep and reigning French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko as the favorites this week in Shenzhen.

Russian ace Sharapova eased to a 6-3, 6-0 win over Mihaela Buzarnescu of Romania with a powerful forehand victor, while Romanian Halep advanced into the next round after a 6-4, 6-1 victory over Nicole Gibbs of the U.S., reports Xinhua news agency.

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Vandeweghe and Sock were beaten by the French team of Kristina Mladenovic and Richard Gasquet in last year's decider. Bencic later pair up with Federer in the mixed doubles dead rubber to win the match.

'Every match gets tougher and as a competitor and someone who tries to be realistic, I like to only look ahead to the next opponent, ' Sharapova said after the match.

The five-time major victor will next face Zarina Diyas, who upset third-seeded Zhang Shuai 6-3, 6-7 (5), 6-4.

"We had a big crowd, which was nice to play in front of", Halep said during her on-court interview. 'It's my first victory this year as number one in the world, so I'm happy and enjoying the time'.

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The Cherries conceded both times in the opening five minutes of each half, starting poorly and magnifying the task ahead of them considerably from the first whistle.

Twice a finalist at Shenzhen, Riske used power and precision to breeze through the first set and went up 2-1 in the second to leave Sharapova in trouble.

Fellow seeds Zhang Shuai (3) and Timea Babos (8) had no such problems as they saw off Anna Blinkova and Wang Xiyu respectively.

"It was a good match", she continued after the win.

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Pliskova raced into a 5-0 lead before taking the first set and got the better of a second that featured five breaks to claim a second top-10 win and set up a second-round meeting with Ana Bogdan, who beat Camila Giorgi in straight sets.

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