“I’m happy because I could win after a six-month break,” the 28-year-old Romanian told a news conference.
“I felt tension in my back after the first set, even though it was short and I played well.
“After the second set, I felt tired. But I knew she was in the same position so I just had to stick to the plan and fight – the fighting helped me to win the match.
“Sometimes it’s good to call it a good match – but I don’t wish for the next one to play three hours!”
The WTA Tour restarted the season last week in Palermo with strict health protocols, including a limited number of fans and no handshakes between players after the match.
“Emotionally it’s not easy, but we have to adjust – we live in tough times,” Halep said. “I’m all in and respect everything.”
The Romanian has said she will make a decision on her participation in the US Open, which starts on August 31, after playing in this week’s claycourt tournament in Prague.
Second seed Petra Martic, who suffered a semi-final defeat in Palermo last weekend, rebounded with a 7-6 (7-2), 6-3 win over Russian youngster Varvara Gracheva.
Despite needing a medical timeout between sets, Martic went on to break her opponent’s serve twice to seal a convincing victory.
Camila Giorgi, Irina Begu and Elise Mertens all advanced while Australia’s Storm Sanders was eliminated in straight sets by Ana Bogdan of Romania.