Except for six double faults, Halep put on a solid performance, saving the one break point she faced, which came in her opening service game.
“I was fresh and running very well,” said Halep, who has now beaten Hantuchova in all four matches they have played. “My shots were very strong and deep. I played good tennis.”
Second-seeded Petra Kvitova overcame a one-set deficit to defeat Elina Svitolina 2-6 6-3 6-2 in the first evening match.
“I’m not sure where I was in the first set,” said Kvitova, the reigning Wimbledon champion. “I don’t think I was on the court. But that happens sometimes.”
Caroline Wozniacki served for the match three times before finally beating Samantha Stosur 4-6 6-1 7-5. The third-seeded Dane led 5-2 in the third set but struggled to close it out.
“They do say third time lucky, right?” Wozniacki said. “I was hoping for that.”
Wozniacki has been ill with a headache, sore throat and hoarseness since arriving in Dubai and on the first point of the match a recurring left knee problem surfaced. After losing the first set, the former top-ranked player took a medical time-out to have her knee treated.
“I thought I was long gone after that first set,” Wozniacki said. “I’m happy to be through and to the next round.”
Ana Ivanovic, the fourth seed who has been out with a broken toe since her first-round exit at the Australian Open, beat Sabine Lisicki 6-0 6-3, while fifth-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska defeated Caroline Garcia 6-3 2-6 6-3.
Also advancing was 13th seed Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain, who withdrew from Sunday’s final in Antwerp against Andrea Petkovic with a neck injury. Suarez Navarro beat Camila Giorgi 6-3 6-4.
Three seeded players lost out however, including Petkovic, who fell to Zarina Diyas 7-5 6-3; Jelena Jankovic who lost to Garbine Muguruza 6-3 6-4; and Peng Shuai was beaten by Tsvetana Pironkova 3-6 6-4 7-6 (5).