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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 September 2018

WTA Finals: Halep thrilled to win first match as world No 1 in Singapore

Romanian crushes Garcia of France in round-robin competition, and Wozniacki finally pockets a win against Svitolina

Simona Halep is enjoying her status as the women's No 1 player on and off the tennis courts. Julian Finney / Getty Images
Simona Halep is enjoying her status as the women's No 1 player on and off the tennis courts. Julian Finney / Getty Images

Simona Halep says she is relishing being the world No 1 after delivering an ominous warning to her rivals at the WTA Finals with a crushing, straight-sets victory over the in-form Caroline Garcia on Monday.

In her opening round-robin match at the eight-player season finale, Halep halted Garcia's 11-match winning streak with a 6-4, 6-2 masterclass in 88 minutes at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.

It was sweet revenge for the recently crowned world No 1 from Romania, who lost to France's Garcia in this month's China Open final in Beijing.

Halep, who received the top billing a day before the final in Beijing, said she enjoyed winning her first match as the world No 1.

"I feel happy. I feel great winning the first match in the first tournament coming in as No 1," she said. "It’s a nice thing that I can be No 1 at the end of the year but it is not the most important thing in this moment for me. I just want to win the matches that I’m playing here."

Garcia, the world No 8, had secured the last spot for Singapore after winning back-to-back titles in Wuhan and Beijing, but she was thoroughly outclassed in her debut WTA Finals match.

"I’m disappointed about the loss," Garcia said. "It was not the way I wanted but it’s not over yet."

Halep's famed defensive prowess and precision hitting took hold of proceedings, particularly as she breezed through the second set in 38 minutes.

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Caroline Wozniacki finally beat Elina Svitolina. Clive Brunskill / Getty Images
Caroline Wozniacki finally beat Elina Svitolina. Clive Brunskill / Getty Images

In the Red Group’s second match, world No 6 Caroline Wozniacki posted her first win over Elina Svitolina in grand style with a 6-2, 6-0 thrashing in just 59 minutes.

Denmark’s Wozniacki had previously lost all three matches to Svitolina, including crushing finals losses in Dubai and Toronto this year, but won 10 straight games in a one-sided rout. She broke three times during a dominant second set lasting only 26 minutes.

"I just stayed really aggressive and really tried to just go for my shots," Wozniacki said. "I think I just kind of broke her down a little bit. Then I think she lost the belief or she tried to go a little bit more for it."

Svitolina, playing in her first WTA Finals match, said she struggled to adjust to the Singapore court’s slower surface.

"This court is very, very slow. Today I completely lost my rhythm after [a] couple of games," she said. "I'm very disappointed with the performance today."

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