Simona Halep ended a half-decade exile from Washington as the former world No. 1 began the week with a 6-3, 7-5 defeat of Spanish qualifier Cristina Bucsa on Monday.

The Romanian last played in the US capital in 2017 but made up for lost time as she spent 81 minutes in a victory performance littered with six double-faults at the WTA event.

She last competed four weeks ago in a Wimbledon semi-final loss to Elena Rybakina.

“I struggled a little bit today, but it was really good that I could finish it in two sets,” Helep said after concluding with 19 winners.

“She’s a tough opponent, and we played for the first time. It was not easy, and I’m really happy to go through.”

Halep broke five times against her 123rd-ranked opponent.