China Open: Simona Halep seals landmark win against Sharapova
Beijing: Romanian second seed Simona Halep recorded her first victory over Maria Sharapova and advanced to the China Open quarter-finals with a 6-2 6-2 win.
The 26-year-old world number two, in her eighth match with Russian ex-world number one Sharapova, raced 4-1 ahead.
She won in 72 minutes to reach her second China Open quarter-final.
Meanwhile, French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko qualified for the eight-player WTA finals in Singapore this month by beating Sam Stosur 6-3 7-5.
Sharapova beat Halep at the US Open in August but committed 39 unforced errors in an untidy display in Beijing.
The 30-year-old Russian, who returned to competitive tennis in April following a 15-month doping ban, was competing at the China Open for the first since she won the title in 2014.
Now ranked 104, Sharapova beat fellow Russian Ekaterina Makarova in three sets in the previous round but could find no answer to the power and precision of the groundstrokes from Halep, who made only six unforced errors. In the last eight Halep will play the winner of the evening match between Polish world number 11 Agnieszka Radwanska, the defending champion, and Russian Daria Kasatkina.
Britain's Johanna Konta, who lost in the first round in Beijing and has withdrawn from next week's Hong Kong Open with a foot injury, is in contention for the final place in the Singapore season finale but could face competition from world number 15 Caroline Garcia of France.
Garcia needs to reach at least the semi-finals this week to keep her chances alive and she beat Belgian Elise Mertens 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Britain's Dan Evans was hit with a one-year suspension on Wednesday after testing positive for cocaine in April.
Evans, ranked 108th, failed the drug test at the Barcelona Open in April and went public with the result at an emotional press conference in June.
The 27-year-old's ban has been backdated and he will be eligible to play again on April 24 next year.
"A sample was found to contain cocaine and its metabolite," a statement from the International Tennis Federation read.
"It was agreed that a period of one year's ineligibility should be imposed, commencing on 24 April 2017. The ITF accepted Mr. Evans' account of how the cocaine got into his system and that he bears no significant fault or negligence for the violation."
Evans, speaking via his agent, vowed to return to action after the ban. "Following the announcement made from the ITF, I want to thank everyone who has supported me throughout this difficult period," he said.
"I am determined to return to the sport I love and compete at the level I know I can in the not too distant future." Cocaine is only banned in competition and Evans insisted he didn't take it during the tournament.