{
    "title": "Halep powers to victory on return",
    "image": "https:\/\/images.supersport.com\/2018\/2\/Simona-Halep-180122-Celebrates-G-300.jpg",
    "body": "<p>World No 2 Simona Halep won on her return to competitive action since losing the Australian Open final, beating Ekaterina Makarova in straight sets in the Qatar Open Wednesday.\r\n<\/p><p>\r\nHalep eased through 6-3, 6-0 against the Russian in a second round match -- she received a first round bye -- but admitted afterwards she was still anxious about an ankle injury which has stopped her from playing since Melbourne.\r\n<\/p><p>\r\nAlso winning convincingly was the woman who defeated Halep in Melbourne, Caroline Wozniacki who blitzed Germany's Carina Witthoeft, 6-2, 6-0 in just 57 minutes.\r\n<\/p><p>\r\nBut it was Halep's ankle which was receiving most attention afterwards.<\/p><p>\r\n\r\nThe Romanian said she would assess that injury match-by-match and admitted she would take the \"best decision\" for her health if the ankle worsened.\r\n<\/p><p>\r\n\"Ankle is okay. The foot is still painful,\" she said afterwards.<\/p><p>\r\n\r\nHalep faces Latvian Anastasija Sevastova on Thursday and asked if she will definitely play, she responded: \"For sure, yeah. And I will try to finish the match. \r\n<\/p><p>\r\n\"I started already to talk too much about this injury, it's just a problem with my foot. \r\n<\/p><p>\r\n\"The doctor said that nothing can happen like worse to break something. <\/p><p>\r\n\r\n\"But still when I will feel stronger pain, I think I will just think -- I will double think about it and I will take the best decision.\"\r\n<\/p><p>\r\nThe injury also forced her out of Romania's Fed Cup tie with Canada last weekend.\r\n<\/p><p>\r\nHalep raced to a 5-1 lead in her first set before Makarova, the world No 36, showed some defiance by breaking the Romanian's serve and threatening a comeback.\r\n<\/p><p>\r\nHalep, who hit 13 winners, then rallied and stormed through the second set without losing a game.\r\n<\/p><p>\r\nThe Romanian has the possibility of reclaiming the world's top ranking from Wozniacki this week if she reaches at least the quarterfinals and goes one round further than the Dane.<\/p><p>\r\n\r\nBut Wozniacki carried on the great form which saw her lift her first Grand Slam title last month, not giving Witthoeft a chance, and hitting 18 winners.<\/p><p>\r\n\r\n\"I felt very comfortable out there today,\" she said. \"And the court suited me well. So I was pleased with the win.\"\r\n<\/p><p>\r\nWozniacki also has her own reasons for doing well in Doha.<\/p><p>\r\n\r\nIf she gets to the semifinal, she will become just the fourth player in history to pass $30 million in prize money.<\/p><p>\r\n\r\nThe high-quality field in the Gulf features nine of the top ten players in the world and several just outside those rankings.\r\n<\/p><p>\r\nWith few shocks so far, the remaining few days in Doha could witness some heavyweight contests.\r\n<\/p><p>\r\n\r\n<strong>KVITOVA THROUGH AFTER SCARE <\/strong> <\/p><p>\r\n\r\nAlso through to the third round are world No 11, Britain's Johanna Konta and a resurgent Petra Kvitova.<\/p><p>\r\n\r\nKonta won 6-2, 6-2 against a former Qatar Open winner, Carla Suarez Navarro.<\/p><p>\r\n\r\nAnd Kvitova battled back from a set down to beat Poland's Agnieszka Radwanska 6-7 (3\/7), 6-3, 6-4.<\/p><p>\r\n\r\n\"I have no idea, first of all, how I turned it around. I felt pretty exhausted,\" said the double Wimbledon champion. \r\n<\/p><p>\r\nDefending champion Karolina Pliskova -- who beat Wozniacki in last year's Doha final -- beat France's Alize Cornet, 6-2, 6-3.<\/p><p>\r\n\r\nAngelique Kerber alos progressed and in one of the few shocks so far, Romania's Mihaela Buzarnescu beat No 6 seed, Latvia's Jelena Ostapenko 6-1, 6-3.<\/p><p>\r\n\r\n\"I have no idea, first of all, how I turned it around. I felt pretty exhausted,\" said the double Wimbledon champion. <\/p>\r\n<p>",
    "blurb": "World No 2 Simona Halep won on her return to competitive action since losing the Australian Open final, beating Ekaterina Makarova in straight sets in the Qatar Open Wednesday.",
    "date": "2018-02-14T21:21:33",
    "author": "",
    "credit": "AFP",
    "img_credit": "Simona Halep \u00a9 Gallo Images",
    "category": "WTA",
    "videos": []
}