World No. 1 Halep Shocked on Day 1 at US Open; Draw Opens for Serena, Venus Williams
by Staff | August 28th, 2018, 8:58 am

The US Open draw opened up for the Williams sisters, or at least one of the Williams sisters, when world No. 1 Simona Halep became the first top-seeded player to lose in the opening round of the US Open on Monday, falling 6-2, 6-4 to Estonian Kaia Kanepi.
“She has been playing really well in U.S. lately, so I thought I just have to be aggressive and try to stay calm. That’s what I should do,” Kanepi said after the match. “I remembered how I played her last time [in a three-setter four years ago]. I was just trying to do the same.”

Halep’s long summer run included the Canadian Open title and a runner-up effort at Cincinnati the following week. The No. 44-ranked Kanepi and Halep were playing in the very first match only the new Louis Armstrong Stadium, where Kanepi did not face a break point in the first set, and in the second set overpowered the Romanian.

“I didn’t play great, but she played really well,” Halep said. “I knew that she can play well here. She played quarterfinals last year. I didn’t find the balance today. I couldn’t play better, so that’s it. She started pretty well and pretty strong, so those first games were tough. Actually, I expected her to play like that without fear and hitting the balls really strong. I cannot say much about this match, just that I didn’t really feel the ball. But also, she played really strong and pushed me back, so it was tough.”

It was Kanepi’s second career win over a world No. 1, while it was Halep’s 12th first-round loss at a Slam.

Serena and Venus Williams are now one win away from facing each other in the third round, with the winner of that meeting no longer having Halep in their path.

Top 10 players safely into the second round were No. 3 Sloan Stephens who topped Russian Evgeniya Rodina 6-1, 7-5, No. 7 Elina Svitolina struggling past American Sachia Vickery 6-3, 1-6, 6-1, No. 8 Karolina Pliskova defeating Zarina Diyas 6-4, 7-6(4), and No. 9 Julia Goerges surviving Russian qualifier Anna Kalinskaya 6-2, 6-7(5), 6-2.

Lower-seeded winners on Monday were No. 12 Garbine Muguruza bageling China’s Shuai Zhang, No. 15 Elise Mertens, No. 16 Venus Williams, No. 17 Serena Williams bageling Poland’s Magda Linette, No. 18 Ashleigh Barty, No. 19 Anastasija Sevastova needing three sets to get by Croat Donna Vekic, No. 23 Barbora Strycova, No. 25 Daria Gavrilova who double-bageled Spain’s Sara Sorribes Tormo, and No. 31 Maria Sakkari.

“I think I’m getting there,” Serena said after crushing the willowy Linette in the featured night match, wearing a designer motorcycle biker-like kit. “It’s not easy to get to any point in my career. The highs have been great, the lows have been, you know, like your normal lows. That’s kind of how it is. You have to get through all those moments to live the next.”

The 36-year-old Williams is one of seven mothers in the 2018 US Open field.

The No. 16 seed Venus Williams will next line up against Italian Camila Giorgi, who defeated American wild card Whitney Osuigwe 6-4, 6-1. The No. 25 Gavrilova’s second-round opponent will be former No. 1 Victoria Azarenka who beat Slovak Viktoria Kuzmova 6-3, 7-5.

“The first rounds are never easy, especially when you play someone you’ve never played before,” said Azarenka, playing her first US Open since the birth of her son. “[Kuzmova] didn’t give me many opportunities on the return, but I stayed tough, I stayed smart. I’m in the second round of the US Open.”

Two other seeded upsets on the day were Swede Rebecca Peterson coming from a set down to beat No. 27 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 1-6, 6-4, 6-3, and China’s Qiang Wang ousting No. 31 Magdalena Rybarikova 6-2, 6-2.

Tuesday’s highlights in Flushing Meadows are (2) Carolina Wozniacki vs. Sam Stosur, (10) Jelena Ostapenko vs. Andrea Petkovic, (22) Maria Sharapova vs. (Q) Patty Schnyder, (6) Caroline Garcia vs. Johanna Konta, (5) Petra Kvitova vs. Yanina Wickmayer, and the all-American 2017 US Open girls’ winner Amanda Anisimova vs. former world No. 1 junior Taylor Townsend.

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19 Comments for World No. 1 Halep Shocked on Day 1 at US Open; Draw Opens for Serena, Venus Williams

BBB Says:

Hantuchova has joined Tennis Channel here – I had no idea she’s so intelligent and thoughtful. Great addition.

RZ Says:

Good to hear BBB. There are lots of options for decent commentators. I get frustrated by the ones I think don’t add much to the discussion
but who get a lot of air time (*cough* Chris Evert *cough* John McEnroe *cough*)

Margot Says:

BBB: She’s on Amazon Prime too. Just listened to her. You can have Greg Rusedski back tho…!
Commies saying conditions are “brutal.” Everything crossed for Petra, she isn’t very good with humidity and air pollution. Who is, actually?

Margot Says:

She’s off to a flying start! Yay!
My favourite male commentator is Nick Lester on tennistv.

Margot Says:

Petra not doing so well in the 2nd :(

Margot Says:

Yay! She did it in 2!

BBB Says:

No thanks on Greg, you can keep him!

I think my favorite is Cliff Drysdale. He really helps the fan understand the game.

I realize I’d never known much about Hantuchova except her eating disorder woes. And that’s unfair. I had no clue she had such a good personality. Davenport and Carillo both seemed genuinely thrilled to have her on board.

I think Jason whatshisname (Goodall?) from your neck of the woods actually shushed Brad Gilbert yesterday. I’m not sure, but it’s what I thought I heard. Now, BG is a bit much, but shushing a fellow commentator?

Mystic - Willow Says:

So she did have an eating disorder at one point, so i was right about that, anyway ive never heard her comontate before, never heard her been interviewed before, and i cant watch the USO where i am, so ill reserve judgement, shes newly retired unlike the rest so she will have a good idea what the more recent players are going through though which is great ….

Humble Rafa Says:

I had no idea she’s so intelligent and thoughtful. Great addition

We all know, BBB, that intelligence is not what you look at first in a woman. At least, now you know.

Mystic - Willow Says:

Humble Rafa thats very sexist, a woman can be both beautiful and intelligent at the same time, i should know lol ;-)

BBB Says:

Funny, HR, that’s not been my experience. But of course your views on women are not necessarily always of this century….

Margot Says:

BBB: Yeah Jason Goodall is British, but he and Robbie K are a bit big for their boots.

Margot Says:

Willow! You can watch the USOpen for nothing! As I am.

Mystic - Willow Says:

I Cant get into Amazon for some reason Margot

Margot Says:

^ Did you try that link I gave you? You need to create an account, give your credit card details and off you go. Have you never bought anything on Amazon?

BBB Says:

Ugh Robbie K. I mute the match when he’s on.

Mystic - Willow Says:

Thanks Margot ill get hubby to do it for me, i dont think its worth it though as im going away on Thursday, till next Thursday, but ill try to sort it for the final, this particular GS always falls between going away for our Autumn equinox anyway, but thankfully i always get to see the final, just this year that will have a ? over it though ….

j-kath Says:


Mystic-Willow: The UK’s nwsp. Express also mentions Amazon as a means of watching US GS…..likely to be the same link as Margot said – too tired to check –

Humble Rafa Says:

Apparently, if you are interested, you can get the ungodly looking Uniqlo clothes that Mr. Arrogant One was wearing today for $9.99. That’s not the amount you have to pay, that’s what Uniqlo will pay you to wear that. No, you don’t need any qualifications to get that amount. Just wear their clothes.

Top story: Serena Williams Says No Comeback To Tennis, For Now