Halep, Sharapova off to flying starts

French Open champ Ostapenko suffers defeat in Shenzhen

World number one Simona Halep swatted aside American Nicole Gibbs while Maria Sharapova was flawless in her straight sets victory over Romania's Mihaela Buzarnescu in the opening round of the Shenzhen Open on Monday.

Five-times major victor Sharapova hit 18 winners and needed an hour and 22 minutes to despatch the experienced Buzarnescu 6-3 6-0 for a winning start to the year.

The five-time grand slam champion took one hour and 22 minutes to get the better of Buzarnescu on her Shenzhen debut and will face Alison Riske - victor over fifth seed Wang Qiang on Sunday - in the second round. "I'm glad I came back, I thought it was a great quality match", Sharapova, who plays Zarina Diyas - victor over Zhang Shuai - in the last eight, said on court.

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"It's always nice to play here in Shenzhen", Simona said post the match.

Sharapova will play 2017 Shenzhen finalist Alison Riske of the USA in the next round. "It's my first victory this year as No 1 in the world, so I'm happy and enjoying the time".

No. 8-seeded Tima Babos had a 6-1, 6-1 win over Wang Xiyu.

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"It was a good match", she continued after the win. "So I will try to continue to work and to just be focused on these kind of things. I look forward to the next matches and hopefully I can become better and better".

Women: Kaia Kanepi bt Daria Kasatkina 6-2, 6-2; Elina Svitolina bt Carla Suarez Navarro 6-2, 6-4; Sorana Cirstea bt Jennifer Brady 7-6 (3), 6-1; Aliaksandra Sasnovich bt Kristina Mladenovic 1-6, 6-3, 7-5; Anett Kontaveit bt Heather Watson 6-0, 6-3; Lesia Tsurenko bt Ashleigh Barty 6-3, 6-2.

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