No.4 seed Simona Halep of Romania moved smoothly into the quarterfinals of the Wuhan Open after a straight sets win over Yaroslava Shvedova of Russia in Wuhan on Wednesday.
On a gusty afternoon, Halep produced a tidy performance to complete a 6-3, 6-3 victory in one hour and 15 minutes, setting up a quarterfinal match with eighth-seeded Madison Keys of the United States, who outlasted Daria Kasatkina of Russia 6-1, 4-6, 6-4.
"I felt the wind. It was really difficult to play against the wind. She's very strong and could attack the ball very easily," Halep said.
"She came out very aggressive, but I blocked the ball well, returned well and I'm happy with the way I played and that I could win in two sets," Halep added.
On Tuesday, Halep celebrated her 25th birthday. Shvedova gave her something of a belated gift in the opening game, surrendering serve with three unforced errors. From this point on, the Romanian was in control, breaking once more in the final game to take the set.
Showing no sign of the hamstring injury that ruled her out of Tokyo, Halep continued to impress in the second set, moving 3-1 ahead before confidently closing out victory to reach the quarterfinals for the first time.
"I'm really happy to be back in Wuhan. Last year was a little bit tough for me because I lost from 5-1 [ahead] in the third set," Halep said. "I'm here to do my best, and give everything I have to try and win matches," she added.
Halep also says she is feeling confident about her overall performance this year.
"I've played really well this year and I'm really happy with the way I played in the big tournaments. I feel good here and that I have a chance to play until the end. At this level, every match is going to be hard," she noted.
The result also moves Halep, who is currently in fifth place in the rankings, within striking distance of qualifying for the WTA Finals in Singapore.