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Kanepi Sends Halep Home in First Round of US Open

Kanepi Sends Halep Home in First Round of US Open

Top seed Simona Halep couldn't live up to all the hype as the Romanian fell short against her Estonian opponent, Kaia Kanepi, 6-2 6-4 in straight sets to exit US Open in the first round. With the loss, Halep became the first woman ever in the history to get knocked out from the tournament as being the World No. 1. After the disappointing result, the Romanian said it was not her day and she wasn't feeling the ball despite having great practice matches earlier, but credited her opponent for playing a fantastic match.

Some might speculate Halep got tired after getting back-to-back successful results; most recently her win in Toronto and was only a point away to capture Cincinnati the week after, but the truth behind for me was Kanepi's outstanding form and pure power she managed to generate throughout the whole match. I have been watching Kanepi since 2008, and it was crystal clear that the first round wasn't going to be an easy-peasy battle for Simona at all. It, also, is important to mention that last year, Kaia Kanepi made it through qualifiers to reach the quarter-finals beating the likes of Francesca Schiavone (RG '10 Champion), Yanina Wickmayer (Former Top 20), Naomi Osaka (Current No. 19), Daria Kasatkina (Current No. 13) where she lost to the eventual runner-up Madison Keys (Current No. 15), so her victories were not fluke.

Kanepi scored 26 winners compared to Romanian's 9 and closed the match with 13 points ahead: 60-47. The constant offense shots made Halep run every corner of the court as she covered distance of 1235.8 ft. against Estonian's 947.6. Halep made it to the net thrice, but got no result in any of her attempt as well as her percent in second serves were as lacking as a 30%. Her feet did the work, but her mind was out of nowhere. Kanepi's flawless strategy wiped her off the court before we even get to see her Romanian blood activating and turning the match upside and down.

Regardless, Simona had a fantastic season overall. She won her first Slam in Roland Garros, won 3 titles, runner-up of Australian Open and is already qualified for the WTA Finals in Singapore. Since she lost to Maria Sharapova last year in the first round, she has no points to defend, which means she is going to keep her top ranking after the tournament as she is already 2000 points ahead of the current No. 2, Caroline Wozniacki.