Heavy rain delayed the start of play for a couple of hours and with more interruptions forecast, Halep was clearly keen to get on with things. In the end, last year's runner-up required just 55 minutes to wrap up a 6-3, 6-1 victory and extend her unbeaten run.
"I'm really happy I'm back here in Cincinnati - I have great memories from last year - I played very good tennis today and I'm really happy with my game," Halep said.
Halep can lay claim to being the summer's form player, lifting silverware in Bucharest and Montréal. After electing not to compete at the Olympics, Halep enjoyed a couple of weeks off since the second of these triumphs and against Beck took a while to get up and running, spraying a sequence of uncharacteristically wild forehands to surrender an early break.
In recent months, coach Darren Cahill has paid particular attention to his charge's serve, and the fruits of their labor were clear for all to see against Beck; this early hiccup was the only blot on an otherwise impressive display, in which she struck seven aces.
Once into her stride, the rest of the Romanian's game was as neat and tidy as ever, particularly in the second set in which she coughed up only four unforced errors, reeling off the final four games to register her 11th consecutive victory.
? SimonaHalepFanSpace (@LosHalepenos) 17 August 2016
"It was tough at the beginning because we didn't have the chance to warm up properly because of the rain, and I was a little bit tight. I had two weeks off, and the first match back is always tough. I just had to stay relaxed, step forward and hit the ball."
Meeting Halep for a place in the quarterfinals will be a familiar foe, Daria Gavrilova. The pair have already met twice this year, sharing the spoils in Rome and Montréal, and Gavrilova set up a rubber match with an impressive 6-2, 6-2 win over No.17 seed Elina Svitolina.