By Ros Satar, in Madrid
- Simona Halep  def. Ekaterina Makarova 6-1 6-0
- World No, 1 spot is on the line for the two-time defending champion
MADRID, SPAIN – Two-time defending champion and World No. 1 Simona Halep delivered a message of intent as she roared into the second round at the Mutua Madrid Open.
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Simona Halep  def. Ekaterina Makarova 6-1 6-0
Keeping her grip on the World No. 1 spot for now, Simona Halep put the pressure firmly back on Caroline Wozniacki’s shoulders after she sped through her opener against Ekaterina Makarova, for the loss of just one game.
Making it a straight 13 wins here Halep was done and dusted in a little under an hour, which meant her post-match wrap up with coach Darren Cahill was on the short side.
“I asked Darren. He said I’m all good. I trust him (smiling). I’m not practicing any more. Tomorrow I maybe I will play again or when I play doubles. When I feel the ball, I don’t want to practice a lot, so I’m cool.
“I talked to him after the match about five minutes this time, so it was short. He said that I played great. He has nothing to comment about. Just keep doing that and it will be okay. I said, Yeah, I agree (smiling).”
It had been a different story in Stuttgart where Halep has done well in the past but in recent attempts, it has been a sorrier tale. She had not looked herself, struggling with an injury. It looked a lot better today on what Halep considers a return to proper clay.
“The injury’s gone. I don’t have problems any more. I had a lot of treatment. I took care of my leg. It was actually coming from the back. I always have little issues with my back, so I know how to treat.
“I felt really well on court today. I was moving great. Also the ball, I felt the game. I like to play on this court. Always when I come back here, I feel a little bit more relaxed. So maybe that’s why I can touch my best level every time I play. Hopefully I can keep it also for the next round.”
-READ MORE ON HALEP’S DRAW-
With her win today in the opening round Halep has put the pressure firmly on Wozniacki now – the Dane needs to at least the final to be in with a shot of regaining the top spot, and to guarantee it, would need to win the title here. Halep is aiming to do a three-peat but no doubt feels very comfortable here, and on the basis of that opening win, ins putting herself right in the driver’s seat.
Halep will face the winner of the match between Elise Mertens and Alison Van Uytvanck.
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