Simona Halep enjoyed a mild test in the first round of the 2017 Citi Open in Washington on Tuesday. Halep, the top seed in the event, faced Sloane Stephens in the opening round. Stephens extended the Romanian to a tiebreaker in the first set.

Overall, the match was not competitive as Halep won 7-6, 6-0. The result see Halep into the 2nd round where she will next face a Colombian opponent.

Halep next faces Mariana Duque-Marino

Halep may have picked up some poor draw luck with her first-round match as Stephens is certainly a high-caliber player, albeit one currently on the comeback trail.

However, luck comes and goes and the Romanian appears to have drawn some good fortunes in round two.

Halep could have faced Shelby Rogers, a player who has done well on the North American hard courts in the past and one that would have enjoyed the support of a partisan American crowd. But Marian Duque-Marino upset Rogers in the first round. Halep now has a great chance at making the quarterfinals through the little-known Columbian player, one who is currently ranked well outside of the top 100 on the WTA Tour.

Looking ahead at Halep's draw, if she survives the second round then she should face a difficult opponent in the third round. Both Monica Puig and Ekaterina Makarova are into the second round following first-round wins. Halep would face one of them in the next round, with Makarova the more-proven player but Puig still dangerous about a year after winning the gold medal from Rio. On the top half of the draw, third-seed Lauren Davis suffered an upset in the first round, a result that may lighten Halep's draw to the final.

Halep in running for No. 1

The Washington draw only offers 280 ranking points to its champion. However, Halep's ranking points for winning the Rogers Cup last season just dropped off on Monday. She'll certainly be keen to gain a small portion of those back ahead of the 2017 Rogers Cup and the 2017 Western & Southern Open. It's expected that the World No. 1 ranking will be on the line in the weeks ahead as current World No.

1 Karolina Pliskova only has a loose grip on the top spot at the moment.

All of the current hard-court events will lead to the 2017 US Open from Flushing Meadows, a tournament that will start in less than four weeks now. Halep, Pliskova, and a few others are among the favorites to win the final Grand Slam of the season from New York. At time of this writing, Halep's match time against her next opponent was still pending.

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