sport news Maria Sharapova starts off 2018 with win at Shenzhen Open

World number one Simona Halep swatted aside American Nicole Gibbs while Maria Sharapova was flawless in her straight sets victory over Romania's Mihaela Buzarnescu in the opening round of the Shenzhen Open on Monday.

Halep, who sealed a 6-4 6-1 victory, struck three aces and fired 12 winners and was at her aggressive best to set up a second round clash with China's Duan Yingying who defeated Evgeniya Rodina 6-2 7-5.

'It's always nice to play here in Shenzhen,' said Halep, who captured the Shenzhen Open title in 2015. 'It's my first victory this year as number one in the world, so I'm happy and enjoying the time.'

Maria Sharapova started off 2018 with victory over Mihaela Buzarnescu in the Shenzhen Open

Maria Sharapova started off 2018 with victory over Mihaela Buzarnescu in the Shenzhen Open

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