Singapore - Simona Halep says she is relishing being the world number one after delivering an ominous warning to her rivals at the WTA Finals with a crushing, straight-sets victory over the in-form Caroline Garcia on Monday.
In her opening round robin match at the eight-player season finale, Halep halted Garcia's 11-match winning streak with a 6-4, 6-2 masterclass in 88 minutes at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.
It was sweet revenge for the recently crowned world number one from Romania, who lost to France's Garcia in this month's China Open final in Beijing.
Halep, who received the top billing a day before the final in Beijing, said she enjoyed winning her first match as the world number one.
"I feel happy. I feel great winning the first match in the first tournament coming in as number one," she told reporters after the match.
"It's a nice thing that I can be number one at the end of the year but it is not the most important thing in this moment for me. I just want to win the matches that I'm playing here."
Garcia, the world number eight, had secured the last spot for Singapore after winning back-to-back titles in Wuhan and Beijing, but she was thoroughly outclassed in her debut WTA Finals match.
"I'm disappointed about the loss," Garcia said. "It was not the way I wanted but it's not over yet."
Halep's famed defensive prowess and precision hitting took hold of proceedings, particularly as she breezed through the second set in 38 minutes.
In the Red Group's second match, world number six Caroline Wozniacki posted her first win over Elina Svitolina in grand style with a 6-2, 6-0 thrashing in just 59 minutes.
Denmark's Wozniacki had previously lost all three matches to Svitolina, including crushing finals losses in Dubai and Toronto this year, but won 10 straight games in a one-sided rout. She broke three times during a dominant second set lasting only 26 minutes.
"I just stayed really aggressive and really tried to just go for my shots," Wozniacki told reporters after the match. "I think I just kind of broke her down a little bit. Then I think she lost the belief or she tried to go a little bit more for it."
Svitolina, playing in her first WTA Finals match, said she struggled to adjust to the Singapore court's slower surface.
"This court is very, very slow. Today I completely lost my rhythm after (a) couple of games," she said. "I'm very disappointed with the performance today."