DOHA, Qatar - Top seed Simona Halep eased into the last eight of the Qatar Total Open on Wednesday with a 6-2, 6-3 win over Ukrainian Lesia Tsurenko.
Fresh off helping Romania reach the Fed Cup semifinals for the first time in its history, Halep got off to a winning start in Doha as she improved her head-to-head against the Ukrainian No.2 to a perfect 6-0, having lost just one set in their meetings.
"It's always tough to play against her, because she doesn't give pace. She has a strange game in the direction that she feels the ball really well," the Romanian assessed.
"It's not easy to hit the ball from her balls. It's always tough, but I got the feeling against her, and maybe that's why I can win every time I play against her."
Though the World No.3 started quickly on the scoreboard, as she opened up a 5-0 lead to begin the match in the first set, three of the first five games extended past deuce or more.
After winning the first three games of the match in just over 10 minutes, Halep came through two lengthy battles - first breaking Tsurenko for a second time in a marathon, nine-deuce game to lead 4-0, before saving three break points in a five-deuce affair on her own serve.
The Romanian held off a brief challenge from Tsurenko to seal the first set, and later won the last five games of the match to seal a spot in the last eight, and a return to World No.2 in the rankings.
"Even if I was 3-1 down, I got myself together and I just -- I have been more focused after I lost those games, and I came back stronger. I'm happy that I could win in that way," Halep said.
Halep's foe in the quarterfinals will be No.9 seed Julia Goerges, who won a marathon match against American lucky loser Alison Riske, 6-1, 6-7(5), 6-4, from 4-2 down in the final set.
"t's really tough to say now what I have to do. I know that she has a big serve, has a big forehand. I will see, and I have to be confident because I feel good on court. I have good mood, so I have my chance. I will fight for it," the Romanian said.
"It's a tough one. If I can win, then I will take another one...I enjoy the fact that I feel good and I can play good tennis. Today was a good day, and I feel happy."