Simona Halep moved into the quarterfinals of the Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open and within touching distance of a place at the WTA Finals after a straight set win over Yaroslava Shvedova on Wednesday.
WTA Staff

WUHAN, China - No.4 seed Simona Halep moved smoothly into the quarterfinals of the Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open after a straight-set win over Yaroslava Shvedova.

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On a gusty afternoon, Halep produced a tidy performance to complete a 6-3, 6-3 victory in an hour and 15 minutes.

"I felt the wind. It was really difficult to play against the wind. She's very strong and could attack the ball very easily," Halep said. "She came out very aggressive, but I blocked the ball well, returned well and I'm happy with the way I played and that I could win in two sets."

On Tuesday, Halep celebrated her 25th birthday and Shvedova gave her a belated gift in the opening game, surrendering serve with three unforced errors. From this point on the Romanian was in control, breaking once more in the final game to take the set.

Showing no sign of the hamstring injury that ruled her out of Tokyo, Halep continued to impress in the second set, moving 3-1 ahead before confidently closing out victory to reach the quarterfinals for the first time. There she will face Madison Keys, a 6-1, 4-6, 6-4 winner over Daria Kasatkina.

"I'm really happy to be back in Wuhan. Last year was a little bit tough for me because I lost from 5-1 [ahead] in the third set," Halep said. "I'm here to do my best, and give everything I have to try and win matches.

"I've played really well this year and I'm really happy with the way I played in the big tournaments. I feel good here and that I have a chance to play until the end. At this level, every match is going to be hard.

The result also moves Halep, who currently sits in third place on the leaderboard, withing touching distance of qualifying for the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global. Halep has appeared in the past two season finales, finishing runner-up in 2014, and will guarantee her return with victory over Keys on Thursday.

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