Sharapova shines in Shenzhen
There were wins for Maria Sharapova and Simona Halep in Shenzhen on the first day of the new year.
Maria Sharapova made a winning start to 2018 as she cruised to a 6-3 6-0 victory over Mihaela Buzarnescu in the first round of the Shenzhen Open.
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.
"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," she said.
"She [Riske] beat a crowd favourite yesterday, so I know I have a tough match ahead, but I just want to keep playing better, and keep improving no matter who is across the net."
Halep kicks off new year in style
World number one and 2015 Shenzhen champion Simona Halep also got off to a winning start, beating Nicole Gibbs 6-4 6-1.
"I started with a victory, which means a lot to me, to have a happy start. I look forward to the next matches and hopefully I can become better and better," Halep said.
Seventh seed Maria Sakkari won the first set of her first-round clash with Danka Kovinic but ultimately fell to a 4-6 6-2 6-3 to the Montenegrin qualifier.
Fellow seeds Zhang Shuai (3) and Timea Babos (8) had no such problems as they saw off Anna Blinkova and Wang Xiyu respectively.