No. 1 Simona Halep Falls in First Round of U.S. Open

Kaia Kanepi

Rated as the joint favourite with Serena Williams heading into the event, Halep came unstuck to Kanepi - who played a brilliant match - and made an unwanted piece of history as she became the first women's top seed to lose in the opening round in NY in the Open Era.

Halep is the first top-seeded woman to lose in the first round in NY. The current match wins leader on tour (46-8), Halep also led the way for hardcourt wins (28-4) but Kanepi, a quarterfinalist previous year as a qualifier, claimed her first win over a Top 20 opponent since 2015 Madrid. World number one retrieved a double break in the second set to get back to 4-4 but the Romanian got broken again and the Estonian held to serve out the match. Virginia Ruzici did so at the 1979 Australian Open, Steffi Graf lost at Wimbledon in 1994, Martina Hingis lost at Wimbledon in 1999 and in 2001, and Angelique Kerber lost as the top seed this year at Roland Garros.

Kanepi advances instead, moving on to play qualifier Jil Teichmann in the second round. Kanepi has shown the occasional ability to grab significant results, including a run to the quarterfinals at Flushing Meadows a year ago.

The 26-year-old Halep won her first Grand Slam title earlier this year at the French Open.

"Today I just lost", Halep told reporters.

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Sure did. She ended a 14-stroke exchange with a cross-court forehand volley victor to break right back for a 5-4 lead, then served out the victory.

She never lost control of the match, even in the second set when Halep appeared to get into more of a rhythm.

Halep's 2017 defeat came against five-time major champion Maria Sharapova, though.

Halep - who could have faced Serena or Venus Williams in the fourth round - was joined on the way out of the women's draw by No. 31 Magdalena Rybarikova, while No. 7 Elina Svitolina and two-time major champion Garbine Muguruza advanced.

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