DOHA, Qatar – In her first match since losing in the Australian Open final, No.2 seed Simona Halep needed just over an hour to take down Ekaterina Makarova 6-3, 6-0 and make a winning start to her Qatar Total Open campaign.

In her pre-tournament press conference, Halep discussed bouncing back mentally after the Australian Open, saying, “Everything was beautiful at that tournament, even if I lost the final, I took only the positives and I’m really motivated to go ahead.”

She showed this clearly against her opponent Makarova, who’s built up a reputation of being a dangerous floater and a stumbling block for top players; she knocked out her No.6-seeded countrywoman Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in St. Petersburg just two weeks ago. But despite her reputation, the Russian came into Doha looking to win her first back-to-back matches in 2018.

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