MADRID, Spain - Two-time champion Simona Halep is off and running at the Mutua Madrid Open.
The No.3 seed needed just 74 minutes to defeat Russian qualifier Margarita Gasparyan in Sunday's first round, 6-0, 6-4.
Halep raced through the opening set and built a 5-2 lead in the second, before the Russian saved a match point en route to getting back on serve in the second set.
However, the two-time champion settled down when it mattered most, saving a game point which would have seen Gasparyan level at 5-5, before sealing her sixth break of the match and the overall victory.
"It was a good match, even if the first set was fast. The second one was tougher, and I feel happy that I could win this match," Halep said on-court after the match.
"I did everything I could today and I'm happy with the victory."
The Romanian was near-perfect on break point opportunities in the match, going six-for-seven in the World No.65's service games, and limited Gasparyan to just 37 percent of first-serve points won.
Up next, the No.3 seed will face either Great Britain's Johanna Konta, who is fresh off a runner-up showing on the red clay in Rabat, or American Alison Riske.