Romania's Simona Halep celebrates during her group stage match with France's Caroline Garcia. REUTERS/Edgar Su
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Garcia was the last woman to qualify for the elite eight-woman event when the 24-year-old won back-to-back titles in China but her tournament debut ended in defeat when world No. 1 Halep halted her 11-match winning run in emphatic fashion. There was little to choose between the aggressive baseliners in the first set but Halep stepped up a gear on the key points in the opener before hassling and harrying Garcia all over the court in the second to triumph in 88 minutes.Garcia refused to buckle completely, however, and Halep needed three set points to finally seal the opener with a booming backhand down the line that she greeted with a loud roar and two clenched fists.
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