BEIJING: Simona Halep avenged her US Open defeat to claim a first ever win over Maria Sharapova at the China Open. A blockbuster first-round clash in New York went the way of Sharapova, but Halep produced a brilliant performance in Beijing to win 6-2 6-2 – her first victory over her rival in eight attempts. Halep’s all-round game was simply far too good for Sharapova, who made 20 unforced errors in the opening set alone. In New York the Russian was able to dominate Halep’s serve, but this time the Romanian was broken just once, in her opening game.
She broke Sharapova five times in return and made just six unforced errors in wrapping up victory after 72 minutes.
Aljaz Bedene lost 10 straight games before retiring against Roberto Bautista Agut in the second round of the China Open. The British No.3 has been struggling with a knee problem and did not look comfortable from the start.
Bedene, ranked 50th, was staring at a first ever double-bagel defeat but pulled the plug trailing 6-0 4-0 against the Spaniard.
With her 15-month doping ban having sent her tumbling down the rankings, Sharapova knows she will have to get used to meeting the likes of Halep early on in competition. However, the Russian is excited to go up against the second seed again. Agencies
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