World number one and top seed Simona Halep has crashed out of the US Open in the first round, beaten in straight sets by Kaia Kanepi. Halep was an overwhelming favourite to progress to round two but fell well below her usual standards as the Estonian pulled off a shock 6-2 6-4 triumph in New York.
The Romanian’s serve was broken five times on the new Louis Armstrong Stadium and, despite getting back to 4-4 after falling a double break down in set two, she lost her serve again and is out.
Kanepi, the world number 44, was understandably delighted and revealed her love for playing tennis at Flushing Meadows.
“I have always loved being in New York,” she said. “I like the atmosphere. I like being here. I love the courts and the climate, and I think that the courts suit my game really well.”
Halep felt the crowd was behind her but just could not raise her game enough to get past Kanepi.
“I think, maybe the first match when I was really down a set and 3-0, and the crowd was really, was strong with me,” she said. “So I felt the energy. I fought for every ball. I missed three balls, easy balls at 4-All, 40-15. So it’s on me.
I couldn’t take that game, and then she served pretty well.”