Top-ranked Simona Halep beat defending champion Katerina Siniakova 6-1 2-6 6-0 in the final of the Shenzhen Open on Saturday (Jan 6).
World number one Simona Halep and number six Elina Svitolina continued their preparations for the Australian Open with contrasting tournament wins. Halep recovered from losing the second set at the Shenzhen Open in China to beat reigning champion Katerina Siniakova 6-1 2-6 6-0.
Earlier, Svitolina claimed the first WTA title of the year at the Brisbane International. The Ukrainian beat surprise finalist Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-2 6-1. Sasnovich, the world number 88, had come through qualifying. She came up against a determined Svitolina, who controlled the match throughout. The 23-year-old sent down 10 aces and never faced a break point on the way to a 10th career title.
Halep's match against Siniakova was moved indoors because of rain, and the Romanian started strongly, winning the first set without facing a break point. She appeared to lose focus in the second set but regained her composure in the decider to break her Czech opponent's serve three times and seal her first tournament win since May's Madrid Open.
Meanwhile, top seed Caroline Wozniacki won two matches in just over four hours to set up a final against second seed Julia Goerges at the Auckland Classic. The schedule had been affected by rain, forcing organisers to play the quarter-finals and both semi-finals on Saturday and move the final to Sunday.
Denmark's Wozniacki got the better of 19-year-old American wildcard Sofia Kenin 4-6 6-2 6-4 before defeating US qualifier Sachia Vickery 6-4 6-4. Vickery had earlier upset third seed Agnieszka Radwanska. Goerges, who had lost to American Sloane Stephens in the 2016 Auckland final, was far more comfortable in both of her matches.
She beat Slovenia's Polona Hercog 6-4 6-4 in the quarter-finals before moving into the final with a 6-1 6-4 win over Taiwan's Hsieh Su-wei. Elsewhere in New Zealand, Britain's Heather Watson made a winning start in qualifying for the Hobart International, beating Australia's Kimberly Birrell 6-3 6-2.
Watson will next face Japan's Nao Hibino, who at 97 is ranked 22 places below her.