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Emphatic opening win for Halep

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Romania's Simona Halep kicked off her campaign for a maiden WTA Finals title in emphatic fashion with a thumping 6-0 6-3 victory over US Open champion Flavia Pennetta in the opening match of the eight-woman season-ending tournament on Sunday. 

The world No 2 is the highest ranked player in the field after Serena Williams, who has won the tournament the last three years, withdrew citing the need to rest after a year spent carrying injuries.

Halep crushed Williams in round robin play a year ago before losing to the American in the final and her love of the Singapore Indoor Stadium hard court was evident in a first set she wrapped up in 26 minutes after breaking serve three times.

"I feel that I can play my best tennis here," Halep said. "I can say that I didn't play my best today, but I played good tennis. I played solid. I was dominating the match."

Pennetta, who only qualified for the WTA Finals last week, had beaten Halep the last time they played in the semi-finals at Flushing Meadows.

"I didn't play the right game against her at the US Open," Halep said. "Here I was well-prepared and I knew how to play against her."

"She played really consistent," said Pennetta, making her WTA Finals debut. "She was playing really well today. Maybe I had not too much energy. I didn't push a lot like I always do."

Maria Sharapova defeated Agnieszka Radwanska 4-6 6-3 6-4 in their opening round-robin match.

In a full-blooded encounter marked by several swings in momentum as both players struggled on serve.

Sidelined by leg and arm injuries, Sharapova had yet to complete a match since Wimbledon but after shaking off some initial rust, the Russian was back to her very best against Radwanska.

"Coming into this event, I tried to do everything I could to be healthy and although I didn't play my best tennis today, sometimes that's not what matters," Sharapova said of a match that lasted two hours, 48 minutes.

"I'm so happy that I got through and have a chance to play two more matches to end the season and hopefully more, so I couldn't be happier at this point."

The 'White Group' consists of Garbine Muguruza, Petra Kvitova, Angelique Kerber and Lucie Safarova, with play in that pool starting on Monday.

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