Qatar Total Open: Halep, Cirstea, Buzarnescu, Niculescu through to the third round

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In her first match since losing in the Australian Open final, No.2 seed Simona Halep needed just over an hour to take down Ekaterina Makarova 6-3, 6-0 and make a winning start to her Qatar Total Open campaign.

In her pre-tournament press conference, Halep discussed bouncing back mentally after the Australian Open, saying, “Everything was beautiful at that tournament, even if I lost the final, I took only the positives and I’m really motivated to go ahead,” wtatennis.com informs.

She showed this clearly against her opponent Makarova, who’s built up a reputation of being a dangerous floater and a stumbling block for top players; she knocked out her No.6-seeded countrywoman Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in St. Petersburg just two weeks ago. But despite her reputation, the Russian came into Doha looking to win her first back-to-back matches in 2018.

Halep had an answer for everything Makarova sent her way, dropping just three games in the first set and playing a nearly-flawless second set to seal the match in an hour and 12 minutes.

Up next, Halep will take on No.13 seed Anastasija Sevastova in the third round. The Latvian scored a 6-4, 6-1 win against Naomi Osaka to advance into round three.

Also on Wednesday, Sorana Cirtea has defeated Elise Mertens (Belgium) 7-5, 6-4 to reach the third round of Qatar Open. In the previous round of the USD 3.1 million tournament, Cirstea defeated the Greek tennis player Maria Sakkari 6-2, 6-3.

Mihaela Buzărnescu has managed a sensational victory against  Latvia’s Jelena Ostapenko, 6-1, 6-3 and has qualified in the last 16 round.

Buzărnescu (29, 43rd WTA), who was at the beginning of last year on the WTA 540th position, has won her first career victory in front of a top 10 player, winning in 65 minutes.

Romanian tennis plsyer Monica Niculescu has qualified Wednesday evening after defeating Magdalena Rybarikova (Slovakia), who has abandoned at the score of 6-7 (6), 6-2, 3-0.

Niculescu (30, 92nd WTA) continues the remarkable play in Doha, where she previously defeated, among others, Andrea Petkovic and Maria Sharapova.

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