Beijing - Former French Open winner Jelena Ostapenko's poor form continued on Tuesday when she suffered a swift defeat at the hands of Romanian Monica Niculescu at the Shenzhen Open.
Ranked 99th in the world, Niculescu swept past the Latvian world number 22 in less than an hour in a straight sets 6-0, 6-2 victory.
"I played all the week great," said Niculescu, beaming and waving to a cheering crowd in a post-match interview.
"I think I played a solid game and I'm very happy that in the second set I could come back from 0-2," she added.
Known for her distinctive style, which relies heavily on a sliced forehand, the Romanian quickly jumped out to a 5-0 lead, while Ostapenko struggled to play consistently in a match riddled with unforced errors.
The loss to Niculescu in Shenzhen follows a series of disappointing China tournaments for the Latvian tennis star.
Ostapenko endured a poor China Open last October, hampered by a wrist injury, before losing to a player ranked 299 places below her at the Hong Kong Open.
Niculescu, who qualified for the main draw, will next face Kristyna Pliskova of the Czech Republic, who moved through her opening match after China's Peng Shuai dropped out due to a right thigh injury.
The tournament, which runs until Saturday, will see players battling for $750 000 in prize money.
Results on Tuesday at the WTA Tour's Shenzhen Open:
Monica Niculescu (ROU) bt Jelena Ostapenko (LAT x4) 6-0, 6-2
Kristyna Pliskova (CZE) bt Shuai Peng (CHN) 3-6, 7-6 (8/6), 3-3 retired
Sorana Cirstea (ROU) bt Pauline Parmentier (FRA) 6-2, 6-2
Alison Riske (USA) bt Evgeniya Rodina (RUS) 4-6, 6-2, 6-3
Veronika Kudermetova (RUS) bt Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS x8) 6-2, 1-6, 6-2
Vera Zvonareva (RUS) bt Ivana Jorovic (SRB) 7-5, 4-6, 6-4