World No.2 Simona Halep has finally managed to overcome Maria Sharapova, recording her first victory over the Russian in their eighth meeting and moving into the China Open quarterfinals.
Four out of their seven previous encounters were three-setters, including the most recent epic in the first round of the US Open which Sharapova won, but today Halep earned a 6-2 6-2 triumph, which is the most straightforward score of all of their matches.
Wearing the energy pink Adidas US Series Tank and dark burgundy Adidas US Series Skirt, Halep opened the third-round clash with a break and even though Sharapova, who spent more than five hours on court in her first two matches in Beijing, broke back immediately, the Romanian raced to a 5-1 lead and won the first set untroubled. In that set alone, Sharapova made 20 unforced errors to Halep’s one, while hitting just three winners more than the 26-year-old from Constanta.
Sharapova did hold serve to start the second set, but it was after four deuces and a saved break point, and her lead was short-lived as Halep easily leveled to 1-1. Losing just three points on serve in the entire second set, Halep recorded the confidence-boosting victory.
Halep did enter this match much more rested, having played a total of 36 games in her first two rounds, compared to Sharapova’s 65, while the average rank of her opponents was 40, compared to Sharapova’s 26.