28 August, 2018
The US Open has started with a bang as world number one Simona Halep christened the newly renovated Louis Armstrong Stadium with a shock 6-2, 6-4 loss to unseeded Estonian Kaia Kanepi, becoming the first top seed to lose an opening match at Flushing Meadows.
Number one seeded Simona Halep of Romania chases down a return to Kaia Kanepi of Estonia during their 2018 US Open women's match August 27, 2018 in NY.
2018 saw Halep make two Grand Slam finals, including her first career Grand Slam win at the French Open, but it ended in a whimper with Kanepi breaking Halep's serve five times. 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.
Some players, like top-ranked Simona Halep, freely acknowledge they don't deal well with the hustle-and-bustle of the U.S. Open and all it entails.
But it did not appear that way against Estonia's Kaia Kanepi, one of the biggest hitters in the game, who blasted her way to a 6-2, 6-4 victory.
The good news for Halep is she is guaranteed to hold onto the world No 1 ranking having established a solid lead over her rivals.
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Eventually, Halep got going a bit, taking advantage of Kanepi's mistakes to break back twice and get to 4-all in that set, getting a lot of support from fans who repeatedly chanted her first name.
"Today I just lost", Halep told reporters.
Kanepi advances instead, moving on to play qualifier Jil Teichmann in the second round. I knew that she can play well here.
World No. 44 Kanepi was a quarter-finalist in Flushing Meadows past year, but her form has been unremarkable this season.
She can take small consolation from the fact she has amassed enough ranking points to remain world number one after the two-week tournament ends.