Maria Sharapova

Women's world No 1 Simona Halep and Maria Sharapova have started the 2018 on a brighter note with a comfortable, straight sets victory at the 2018 Shenzhen Open.

The Russian tennis star sealed an easy win over Romania's Mihaela Buzărnescu. Sharapova won the first set 6-3, while she made sure her Monday's opponent did not pick up a single point in the second set. Halep, on the other hand, defeated America's Nicole Gibbs 6-4, 6-1.

Sharapova and Halep are the two big names in the ongoing tournament and are also favourites to progress further to the final of the Shenzhen Open. The latter will face China's Duan Yingying in the round of 16, while the 30-year-old face 2017 Shenzhen Open finalist Alison Riske.

"It's my first victory this year as No.1 in the world, so I'm just happy and enjoying the time," said Halep said, as quoted by IANS.

On her victory over Buzărnescu, Sharapova said: "'t's always nice to start off the year with a victory. Overall I thought, besides a few breaks in the beginning, I really stepped up and finished the match off well."

The round of 16 fixtures of the Shenzhen Open will be played on 2 January. Both Sharapova and Halep will also be hoping they can manage another comfortable victory on Tuesday.