As the US Open Series has started to unfold, all the WTA tennis stars are making adjustments for whatever lies ahead. This week, two WTA tournaments are catching attention. While most of the herd is in Stanford (Premier event), Simona Halep didn't receive a wild-card there so she went on to make her debut at City Open in Washington D. C., a WTA International event that will get the job done in terms of warm-ups for the US Open. Capping the grass season with a quarterfinal at Wimbledon where she dramatically lost to Johanna Konta, the Romanian has a lot to worry about during the ongoing outdoor hard session.

The North American cement brought her many points last year, so this time she has to defend that and possibly accumulate even more points.

Simona Halep cruised past Sloane Stephens

As the No.1 seed in Washington, the 25-year-old Romanian had to deal with Sloane Stephens in the opening round. Stephens is trying to make her way back in the WTA elite after struggling with an injury and a long absence. Now ranked 957th in the world, she received a wildcard into the main draw of women's contest. Her run came short as Halep was the superior player on the tennis court. The opening set saw Halep taking the strings of the encounter only to see the 24-year-old American racing from behind. Before going into a tie-break, Stephens, a former world No.11 had to save two set points.

The tie-break produced nothing new as Halep had strong hands and clinched the set. For Stephens that was the end of her hopes to pull something out of this match as she went on and collapsed in the second set. On the other side, the Romanian made no concession and dismantled her opponent by 6-0.

Halep with a chance to build up a momentum on hard court

As Sloane Stephens will now catch her breath and try to extract the good parts of her performance, Simona Halep will prepare to face Mariana Duque-Marino (115 WTA) who got past Shelby Rogers, another American into the main draw. So, Halep won't be playing against one of her recent nightmares.

Back in January, Shelby Rogers stunned Halep in the inaugural round of the Australian Open. If she gets past the Spaniard, the quarter-final means a possible encounter with either Ekaterina Makarova or Monica Puig.

In the end, things may turn out perfectly for the Romanian tennis star. As the draw unfolds, it seems that she is a clear favorite to win the whole thing. Moreover, she will have the chance to play several matches in a row, just enough to make some final adjustments before going to defend her title in Canada.