Simona Halep cruised past Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in her opening match at the Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open. It was her WTA-leading 40th win on hardcourts this year.
WTA Staff

WUHAN, China - Simona Halep outdid Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in her opening match at the Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open on Tuesday. It was her WTA-leading 40th win on hardcourts this year.

Watch highlights, interviews and more video from Wuhan right here on wtatennis.com!

Halep had beaten Pavlyuchenkova in all five of the pair's previous meetings and this one went much the same way, as the No.1-seeded Romanian needed just 64 minutes to get past the Russian, 6-2, 6-1.

She ripped a big ace on match point - her 19th winner of the match, to just seven unforced errors.

"Today I played good tennis. I was trying to dominate today," Halep said in her on-court interview.

"The first round is always one of the most difficult ones, but today I came here with confidence, because I had a lot of good matches and good results in America. So I came on court knowing I would try everything to win. I'm really happy with today's match and I'm looking forward to the next one."

There was also a dubious stat Halep put to rest with the victory.

"It's a good thing I won my first match this year, because last year I lost my first match here!" she said, of course referring to her opening round loss to WTA Rising Star Garbiñe Muguruza last year.

With 40, Halep leads the tour for most WTA-level match wins on hardcourts this year. And she's way ahead - the next two on the list are Karolina Pliskova (with 31) and Serena Williams (with 30).

Next up for Halep will be British qualifier Johanna Konta, who advanced past Victoria Azarenka, 6-4, 1-0, retired, when the former World No.1 had to stop the match because of a left leg injury.

"It actually happened right before the match," Azarenka said. "We were playing points with Sascha - we were playing hard against each other. I just made one really quick movement and started feeling it.

"I think it's manageable, though. I think I can manage for it to be okay in Beijing. But definitely playing matches, after I started feeling it, didn't help. We'll see. I just want to try to stay positive now."

Halep and Konta will be squaring off against each other for the very first time.