Simona Halep beat Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova at the Garanti Koza WTA Tournament Of Champions for her 49th match win of the year. Who are the only three players to get to 50 this year? Read on...
WTA Staff

SOFIA, Bulgaria - Simona Halep beat Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in straight sets to wrap up the Day 1 winners at the Garanti Koza WTA Tournament Of Champions. Ana Ivanovic and Alizé Cornet won too.

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The No.1-seeded Halep won six straight games from 3-all in the first set to build a hefty 63 30 lead, then never really looked back to complete a 63 63 victory against the No.6-seeded Pavlyuchenkova.

Halep had never lost any of her three previous meetings against Pavlyuchenkova either, including a 62 61 victory just 10 days ago in the semifinals of Moscow - Halep went on to win the title there too.

"I started really well today," Halep said. "She's playing really well lately, and she starting coming back, and my serve wasn't so good in that moment - but after that I just tried to hit the ball more and be more aggressive, and it worked for me in the end. I'm really happy that I could win this match today."

Did their match in Moscow come into her mind at any point? "It gave me some extra confidence today, but every match is different," Halep said. "I just need to be focused on every single point against her because she's a great player. I just tried to enjoy the match - I just want to stay happy on the court."

Halep pointed to one shot in particular that she think needs a little bit of work, though.

"I want to work a little bit more on my serve for the next match," she said. "I'm serving really well lately, but sometimes in matches I don't serve well for a little bit, and I need to be more consistent with it."

The current World No.14's win over the former World No.13 was her 49th match win of the season. Only three players have crossed 50 this year - Serena Williams (78), Agnieszka Radwanska (56) and Petra Kvitova (51). Roberta Vinci currently has 49 as well and could pass 50 in Fed Cup this week.

The first two matches of the day saw No.2 seed Ana Ivanovic beat No.8 seed Tsvetana Pironkova (read more here) and No.7 seed Alizé Cornet beat No.3 seed Maria Kirilenko (read more here). Kirilenko had to retire and withdrew from the tournament - she will be replaced by Elina Svitolina.

Halep and Cornet play each other Wednesday - Cornet beat Halep in their only previous meeting.

"I remember that match a little bit," Halep said. "She hits very well with her forehand. I just have to be aggressive, hit the ball and concentrate on my serve. She's a great player; it will be tough."

Halep - who is from neighboring Romania - certainly isn't short on support this week, with 20 friends from home in the stands. If she makes it to the weekend, there could be a bigger cheering squad.