Halep thumps Sharapova at China Open

Second seed Simona Halep of Romania hammered Maria Sharapova to reach the quarter-finals of the China Open in Beijing on Wednesday.

Halep won 6-2 6-2 to beat the Russian for the first time in her career, having lost the previous seven encounters, in a match lasting 74 minutes at the National Tennis Center in Beijing.

It was Sharapova’s first straight sets defeat of 2017 as she racked up 39 unforced errors and was no match for her Romanian opponent.

The 26-year-old Halep was hardly troubled throughout breaking Sharapova's serve twice in each set to reach the quarter-finals. 

In the first set, Sharapova dropped her serve in the opening game but instead of taking advantage Halep did the same a game later for the score to be 1-1. 

Halep immediately broke serve again to lead 2-1 and went on to win the opener 6-2.

There was no let up in the next set for Sharapova as she dropped serve in the third game to trail 1-2 and then again in the seventh game for Halep to serve out the set and match 6-2.

"I think she played an incredible match, probably the best she's played against me in all of our previous meetings," Sharapova said after her loss. "I wasn't as sharp. I wasn't seeing the ball as well. I wasn't moving up and down as well as I have been against her.

"She was hitting the ball consistently, not making a lot of unforced errors, her service percentage was quite high. She did all the right things."

Third round results:

2-Simona Halep (Romania) beat Maria Sharapova (Russia) 6-2 6-2

Second round results:

Peng Shuai (China) beat Monica Niculescu (Romania) 6-3 6-2
9-Jelena Ostapenko (Latvia) beat Samantha Stosur (Australia) 6-3 7-5
Caroline Garcia (France) beat Elise Mertens (Belgium) 7-6(4) 6-4