Halep beats Sevastova to reach Qatar Open quarter-finals
Simona Halep secured a confident straight-sets win over Anastasija Sevastova to reach the quarter-finals of the Qatar Open.
The Romanian's response to her Australian Open final defeat has been a strong one in Doha and she moved into the last eight with a 6-4 6-3 victory against a determined opponent in Sevastova.
A sloppy start from the world number two allowed Sevastova to break her serve in the very first game, but Halep soon felt her way into the match and levelled at 2-2.
An entertaining opening set turned in Halep's favour at 5-3 and, although Sevastova swiftly hit back, she then brilliantly broke to love to clinch the lead after 32 minutes.
The two players continued to trade blows, with Halep again recovering after a series of errors had handed the Latvian the advantage in the second set.
Sevastova did not crumble, but Halep's pressure told as she came to the net to belatedly finish the contest in style with her fourth match point, before acknowledging that her class had won out against a tough opponent.
"[Sevastova] is a great player and I was a little bit nervous," she said on court. "I'm glad that I could play maybe my best tennis."
Halep will now face an unseeded opponent in the quarter-finals following CiCi Bellis' surprise win over fifth seed and defending champion Karolina Pliskova.