Sharapova, Halep through at Shenzhen Open

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Maria Sharapova gestures during her match against Mihaela Buzarnescu in the opening round of the Shenzhen Open on Jan. 1, 2018. [Photo: VCG]

Former world No. 1 Maria Sharapova and current world No. 1 Simona Halep kicked off their new year in a decent way as they both won in straight sets in the first round of the WTA Shenzhen Open on Monday.

The 30-year old Russian eased past Romanian Mihaela Buzarnescu, 6-3, 6-0 after one hour and 22 minutes on court.

"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.

The five-time Grand Slam champion will face 2017 Shenzhen Open runner-up Alison Riske from the United States, who beat Chinese Wang Qiang on Sunday. 

Simona Halep gestures during her match against Nicole Gibbs in the opening round of the Shenzhen Open on Jan. 1, 2018. [Photo: VCG]

World No. 1 Simona Halep beat Nicole Gibbs from the United States 6-4, 6-1. The Romanian struck 12 winners with an aggressive forehand to clinch the victory in 69 minutes.

"It was a good match. I look forward to the next matches and hopefully I can become better and better," said Halep.

She will meet China's Duan Yingying in the second round, who overcame Evgeniya Rodina from Russia 6-2, 7-5. 

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