Kanepi beats Halep in opening round upset

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Kaia Kanepi of Estonia hits a return to number one seeded Simona Halep of Romania during their 2018 US Open women’s match August 27, 2018 in New York.
This year’s tournament marks the 50th anniversary of the Grand Slam event. / AFP PHOTO / Kena BETANCUR

In the first major upset of the on-going U.S Open Tennis Championship, Kaia Kanepi of Estonia defeated the top seeded Simona Halep of Romania 6/2, 6/4 in the newly rebuilt Louis Armstrong Stadium.

The world number one player held the first game with some difficulty. Kanepi delivered hard serves and powerful ground strokes to level 1-1.

The Estonian then reeled off four straight games to lead 5-1. Halep battled and held serve to reduce the tally 2-5.

Serving for the set, Kanepi won the first point on a service return error.

Two groundstroke winners earned her three set points and she clinched it with a forehand winner off a short service return.

In the first game of the second set, Halep faced break point at 30-40 and deuced. It was but a short reprieve as she lost advantage point and game.

After losing the first point of the second game, Halep went to her corner to change racket and received a time warning.

With three game points, Kanepi delivered a hard serve wide and followed with a forehand down the line winner. She was up two games to love.

Halep was ahead 30-0 but lost four straight points to drop the third game.

Kanepi lost the first point in the fourth game but pushed Halep from side to side and elicited a backhand error. Halep lost two pints and faced two break points before losing the game on a double fault.

In the fifth game, a missed drop shot attempt by Kanepi gave Halep 30-15 on her serve and she won the game on a forehand winner into an empty court.

The Estonian had 40-30 but netted a forehand to deuce. However, a deft volley was beyond Halep’s attempted pick-up.