Simona Halep’s campaign at this year’s US Open came to an abrupt end after just 1 hour and 15 minutes in her first round of the championship. The loss marks Halep as the first women’s top seed in the Open to lose in the first round.
The French Open winner was one of the top favourites to arrive at Flushing Meadows, and had told fans that she was free of pressure after breaking through her grand slam duck at Roland Garros. But things quickly changed after she entered the courts against Estonian Kaia Kanepi, one of the hardest hitters right now, and lost to Kanepi 6-2, 6-4.
Kanepi herself has a distinguished grand slam history, having reached six quarter-finals in the past, including in last year’s US Open. But she dropped in rankings after suffering an injury that saw her miss the last eight.
Despite her strong history, no one suspected that Kanepi would have enough stopping power to unseat the world’s No 1, but Halep, who lost at the same stage last year, knew that the game can go either way. Kanepi’s skill began to shine in the second set, where she wiped out a 3-0 lead with 4-4, and just kept swinging for the lines.
Despite her loss so early into the US Open, Halep is guaranteed to keep her No 1 ranking for the time being, thanks to her efforts of breaking out ahead of all her top rivals.
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