World no. 6 Simona Halep is through to the third round in Wuhan, defeating Barbora Strycova 6-3, 6-2 in an hour and 25 minutes. It was the first match for the Romanian after an early exit at the US Open, fending off six out of eight break chances and taking more than half of the return points to grab six breaks from 12 opportunities.
From 3-2 down, Simona grabbed 16 of the last 20 points to claim it 6-3 with two straight breaks, opening a 3-1 lead in the second set. Barbora pulled the break back to stay competitive before Simona rattled off three consecutive games that propelled her into the last 16, earning breaks in games six and eight to cross the finish line and make a convincing start.
After claiming the second Major title in great style at Wimbledon, Simona lost in the quarter-final in Toronto and in the third round in Cincinnati, losing ground a little bit and suffering the second-round loss in New York to Taylor Townsend in the deciding tie break.
After three straight losses in Wuhan, Halep is eager to make a deep run this week, feeling motivated again and hoping to secure the place at the WTA Finals in the remaining events of the season. "I have set some very tough goals.
After winning Wimbledon, I was a little bit let's say more relaxed in results but I'm still motivated, I'm working hard," said Halep. "For this period, I just want to be better because every year I promised myself that I would do the best I can, and I couldn't for different reasons.
Now I feel healthy, motivated and fresh. I just want to go there and win every match I play. I'm really happy and I feel confident that next year I can do some good things again."