Halep too good for Garcia

Halep too good for Garcia

Simona Halep says she is relishing being the world number one after delivering an ominous warning to her rivals at the WTA Finals with a crushing, straight-sets victory over the in-form Caroline Garcia on Monday.

In her opening round robin match at the eight-player season finale, Halep halted Garcia's 11-match winning streak with a 6-4, 6-2 masterclass in 88 minutes at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.

It was sweet revenge for the recently crowned world number one from Romania, who lost to France's Garcia in this month's China Open final in Beijing.

Halep, who received the top billing a day before the final in Beijing, said she enjoyed winning her first match as the world number one. "I feel happy. I feel great winning the first match in the first tournament coming in as number one," she told reporters after the match.

"It's a nice thing that I can be number one at the end of the year but it is not the most important thing in this moment for me. I just want to win the matches that I'm playing here."

Garcia, the world number eight, had secured the last spot for Singapore after winning back-to-back titles in Wuhan and Beijing, but she was thoroughly outclassed in her debut WTA Finals match.

"I'm disappointed about the loss," Garcia said. "It was not the way I wanted but it's not over yet."

In a match-up of contrasting styles and sizes -- with the 1.77m (5ft 10ins) Frenchwoman holding a 9cm height advantage -- Garcia attempted to dictate through her powerful groundstrokes.

Garcia also mixed up her game with an array of deft drop shots and volleying to have Halep on the back foot early on.

But Halep's famed defensive prowess and precision hitting soon told and she broke to love in the fifth game. Even though she was subsequently broken back, Halep gained in confidence and eventually claimed the decisive break in the ninth game when a rattled Garcia double-faulted.

Halep clinched the opening set through a superb backhand winner down the line. She continued to press home the advantage with an early break in the second set and thwarted Garcia's bid for a bold comeback.

Down three break points in the fourth game, Halep brilliantly reeled off five straight points to restore her initiative and she breezed through the second set in 38 minutes.

Wozniacki shines

World number six Caroline Wozniacki posted her first win over Elina Svitolina in grand style with a straight sets thrashing.

Denmark's Wozniacki had previously lost all three matches to Svitolina, including crushing finals losses in Dubai and Toronto this year, but overcame her nemesis with a 6-2, 6-0 destruction in just 59 minutes.

Opening her WTA Finals campaign, Wozniacki won 10 straight games to continue a trend of one-sided matches here.

Players with previous experience on the slower court in Singapore have won all four matches during the opening two nights.

Wozniacki, who played in Singapore in 2014, completely overwhelmed the Ukrainian in a perfect start in her bid to regain the world's number one ranking after a five-year drought. The 27-year-old is one of seven players in the tournament in the running for the prized top ranking.

The lopsided result seemed unlikely in the early going with both players slugging from the baseline in almost identical fashion.

But Wozniacki started finding her range to peel off winners and she claimed a decisive break in the sixth game. She closed out the first set by breaking Svitloina, whose error-riddled performance delivered eight unforced errors in the opening set.

Conversely, Wozniacki had 11 winners and just five unforced errors in a dominant first set. Svitolina had a chance to get back into the contest with a break point to start the second set but Wozniacki held on and subsequently broke.

She broke two more times to storm through the set in just 26 minutes.

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