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By Tennis Now | Wednesday, October 4, 2017

A haunted history against Maria Sharapova did not scare Simona Halep in today’s rematch.

A confident Halep thrashed Sharapova, 6-2, 6-2, avenging her US Open first-round loss and storming into the Beijing quarterfinals.

Watch: Five Revelations From Sharapova's Book

It was Halep’s first win over the former world No. 1 in eight career meetings and she made it look easy in a near-immaculate performance.

The world No. 2 broke at love to open only to see Sharapova break right back. Sharapova was serving at deuce in the third game when Halep elevated her game and took charge of the set. 

Playing precise combinations, the quick-footed Romanian reeled off 10 of the next 11 points to take control. Halep committed just one unforced error—19 fewer than the powerful baseliner—in building a one-set lead.

Sharapova, who spent five hours, 17 minutes on court in victories over 16th-seeded Anastasija Sevastova and compatriot Ekaterina Makarova, lacked the legs to test Halep in running rallies and tried squeezing her flat strikes closer to the lines.

“She was hitting the ball consistently, not making a lot of unforced errors, her service percentage was quite high,” Sharapova told WTA Tennis.com. “She did all the right things. She hit quite deep consistently. When I found myself far from the baseline, I didn't do a good job of coming back in the court. Credit to her, she kept me back there with her consistency."

The 104th-ranked Russian fended off a break point navigating a four-deuce game to hold in the opening game of the second set. 

In their prior seven meetings, including the 2014 French Open final, Sharapova effectively pounded the Romanian's second serve. 

Not today. 

Halep, who broke in the third game of the set, cruised through a couple of love holds building a 4-2 lead and never looked back.

Two-time Roland Garros runner-up Halep will play either defending Beijing champion Agnieszka Radwanska or 34th-ranked Russian Daria Kasatkina for a semifinal spot.

World No. 3 Elina Svitolina swept Wuhan finalist Ashleigh Barty, 6-4, 6-2, in 75 minutes.

It was Svitolina’s 50th victory of the season.

The Ukrainian baseliner made only nine unforced errors compared to 36 for Barty, who looked weary in the 75-minute defeat.

Continuing her quest for a sixth title this season, Svitolina faces Indian Wells champion Elena Vesnina for a quarterfinal spot. Vesnina swept Chinese wild card Ying Ying Duan, 6-3, 6-2. Svitolina and Vesnina have split four career meetings.

In a match of Grand Slam champions, Jelena Ostapenko stopped Samantha Stosur, 6-3, 7-5.

Holds were hard to come by in the second second set as the pair combined for five consecutive breaks before the reigning Roland Garros champion held for 6-5. Ostapenko broke again to seal the victory in one hour, 48 minutes.

"I feel like it was pretty close,” Stosur said. “I felt like I was right in the match the whole time, even though I was battling on the scoreboard. It was hard out there. Both of us struggled on serve, but as the match went on I felt as though I was getting better and better and was close to sneaking out that second set."

The 20-year-old Latvian advanced to a round of 16 meeting with Peng Shuai.

The Chinese No. 1 defeated Monica Niculescu, 6-3, 6-2.


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