Seeded Simona Halep makes history with first-round US Open loss

Novak Djokovic of Serbia puts an ice towel to his face during a changeover in his match against Marton Fucsovics of Hungary during the first round of the U.S. Open tennis tournament Tuesday Aug. 28 2018 in New York

Halep becomes the sixth No. 1-seeded woman to lose in the first round of a Grand Slam in the Open era. The current match wins leader on tour (46-8), Halep also led the way for hardcourt wins (28-4) but Kanepi, a quarterfinalist past year as a qualifier, claimed her first win over a Top 20 opponent since 2015 Madrid.

"I never play my best tennis here, even if I've done quarterfinals, semifinals", Halep told wtatennis.com.

But this is the second year in a row the Romanian exits the U.S. Open in the first round. She then reached the final in Cincinnati, making her a favorite at the U.S. Open.

It's been an eventful opening day at the US Open with No.1 women's seed Simona Halep suffering a shock loss to Kaia Kanepi in the opening round, while Aussies Jason Kubler and Ashleigh Barty both started their campaigns in strong fashion.

"I have always loved being in NY", said the 33-year-old Kanepi, twice a quarter-finalist at the tournament who has been ranked as high as world number 15. He marked his first Grand Slam appearance in an injury-hit 14 months with a 6-7 (5/7), 6-3, 7-5, 6-3 win over Australia's James Duckworth. Halep won her first major at the French Open in 2018. Halep and Serena or Venus Williams were on course.

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"I can not say much about this match, just that I didn't really feel the ball", French Open champion Halep said. Wearing two strips of athletic tape on her left shoulder, the right-handed Kanepi also had far more unforced errors, 28-9, but that high-risk, high-reward style ultimately paid off.

Kanepi earned the first break when she launched a back-hand lob over Halep's head to jump out to a 2-1 lead. Kanepi, who came within two points of victory before losing their lone encounter at 2014 Doha, was asked what was the secret to her win over Halep, BBC reported.

Others making the second round included defending champion and No. 3 seed Sloane Stephens, two-time finalist Victoria Azarenka, and two-time major champ Garbine Muguruza. I knew that she can play well here.

"I thought, 'I just have to be aggressive and try to stay calm, '" Kanepi said. I'm not complaining. I just mean that I don't really feel my game at 100% when I step on the court here.

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