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Sharapova, Halep open 2018 season with victory

Shenzhen, Jan 1 (IANS) Maria Sharapova and top-ranked Simona Halep opened the 2018 season on a victorious note scoring straight-set wins at the Shenzhen Open on Monday.

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

“It’s my first victory this year as No.1 in the world, so I’m just happy and enjoying the time,” said Halep, who will play China’s Duan Yingying in the next round.

Sharapova suffered from a slow start but recovered quickly to dominate her match.

“It’s always nice to start off the year with a victory. Overall I thought, besides a few breaks in the beginning, I really stepped up and finished the match off well,” Sharapova said.

Sharapova will play 2017 Shenzhen finalist Alison Riske of the US in the next round.

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