Maria Sharapova turned on the style at the WTA Finals in Singapore as she picked apart Simona Halep's game on her way to a straight-sets victory.
The world number four – who has only played once since Wimbledon prior to the start of the season-ending tournament due to injury – looked fresh and revitalised as she dominated top seed Halep, winning 6-4 6-4 to boost her semi-final hopes.
Sharapova was immediately on the front foot as she looked to dominate proceedings, a string of thundering forehands giving her the first break of the match in the second game.
The Russian quickly let Halep back in, though, as double faults plagued her next service game.
After a host of thrilling games with competitive rallies, the opening set finally had its decisive moment when Sharapova put pressure on the Halep serve in the 10th – another powerful forehand proving too good as she converted her third set point.
Buoyed by her progress, Sharapova turned the screw at the start of the second set to take the first three games, this time her backhand shining as Halep tried in vain to stay in the match.
Another break gave Sharapova a 5-1 lead, but Halep sensed a chink in her armour and rallied to 5-4, winning three in a row as her opponent's game crumbled.
However, her comeback was short-lived as motivating words from Sharapova's coach inspired a fifth break of the match, a final piercing backhand securing back-to-back victories after beating Agnieszka Radwanska in her WTA Finals opener on Sunday.