Kaia Kanepi Knocks Out Top Seed Simona Halep at US Open
Stunner on Louis Armstrong Stadium!
— US Open Tennis (@usopen) August 27, 2018
(August 27, 2018) FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – World No. 44 Kaia Kanepi provided the big upset on the very first match on the new Louis Armstrong Stadium. The Estonian knocked out No.1 Simona Halep 6-2, 6-4 on day one of the US Open, becoming the first women’s top seed at the US Open to lose in the first round.
Last year, Halep lost in the first round to 2006 champion Maria Sharapova.
“I didn’t play great, but she played really well,” said the Romanian. “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 is tough. But it’s okay.”
“I remembered how I played her last time,” said Kanepi. “I was just trying to do the same.”
The Estonian Kanepi came out dominating the French Open champion in the first set, and went up to a 6-2, 3-0 lead before, Halep started to slow down the pace on Kanepi. Kanepi committed more errors in the second stanza and Halep leveled the set at 4-4. Kanepi broke serve in the next game and held on for the win.
Kanepi felt that her aggressive play was necessary to win the match. “I can be aggressive when I want to, because she defends a lot. But I have time to be aggressive.”
“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 his 26 winners during the match versus 28 unforced errors. Halep and 9 winners and 9 errors. Kanepi was 5 for 7 on break points won and out 85 % of her returns in play.
Kanepi, who was a quarterfinalist at last year’s US Open, fells that New York is good for her game.
“I think the courts suit my game, and I love being in New York. I like the city. I like the atmosphere in tournaments and in the city, also. And I like the weather: humid and hot.”
Asked to comment about all of the upsets in the women’s game, especially at Wimbledon, where all Top Ten seeds fell early, Kanepi gave credit to the depth of the women’s game.
“I think players are playing more equal. I think, yeah, there are not many players anymore who are, like, leading the game. I mean, everybody can beat everybody on a good day, so that’s what I also thought, that I know Simona is No. 1, she plays constantly really well, but I can play really well, too. And I think — I don’t know if you got it. I try to explain as good as I can.”
Kanepi’s next opponent will be Jil Teichmann “I have played her before,” said Kanepi. “It was a tight match. It was her match, actually.
“So I go for every match expecting a tough match.”Embed from Getty Images
Serena Williams is off and running in her first US Open since having a baby about a year ago. The six-time US Open winner stopped Magda Linnette of Poland 6-4, 6-0.
“I thought it was a good match. It was a great first round match. Magda, she’s such a fighter. She’s a very hard worker. I’ve seen her at Patrick’s academy a few times, so I kind of knew what to expect tonight. It was a little bit of a relief to know what to expect.
“I think overall I had a little shaky start, but I got into it.”
Sister Venus joined Serena in the second round beating two-time major winner Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-3, 5-7, 6-3.
“I think I stayed pretty aggressive throughout the match, and that’s how I want to play the tournament, Williams said.
“Not an easy match when you’re playing a former US Open champion in the first round. It seemed that she played her best whenever i was up. I have so much respect for her.”
Defending champion Sloane Stephens is through to the second round winning 6-1, 7-5.
“I’m really happy,” Stephens said. “It’s not downhill from here. But it’s good to get through that first day. First round of a Grand Slam is super tough, especially as defending champion. Super excited to get the tournament going.”
SINGLES – FIRST ROUND
K.Kanepi (EST) d  S.Halep (ROU) 62 64
 S.Stephens (USA) d E.Rodina (RUS) 61 75
 E.Svitolina (UKR) d S.Vickery (USA) 63 16 61
 Ka.Pliskova (CZE) d Z.Diyas (KAZ) 64 76(4)
 J.Goerges (GER) d [Q] A.Kalinskaya (RUS) 62 67(5) 62
 G.Muguruza (ESP) d S.Zhang (CHN) 63 60
 E.Mertens (BEL) d K.Nara (JPN) 62 67(5) 75
 V.Williams (USA) d [WC] S.Kuznetsova (RUS) 63 57 63
 S.Williams (USA) d M.Linette (POL) 64 60
 A.Barty (AUS) d [Q] O.Jabeur (TUN) 61 63
 A.Sevastova (LAT) d D.Vekic (CRO) 62 26 63
 B.Strycova (CZE) d. [Q] D.Lao (USA) 63 64
 D.Gavrilova (AUS) d S.Sorribes Tormo (ESP) 60 60
R.Peterson (SWE) d  A.Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) 16 64 63
Q.Wang (CHN) d  M.Rybarikova (SVK) 62 62
 M.Sakkari (GRE) d [WC] A.Muhammad (USA) 63 63
C.Giorgi (ITA) d [WC] W.Osuigwe (USA) 64 61
E.Makarova (RUS) d [Q] H.Watson (GBR) 61 36 63
I.Begu (ROU) d J.Brady (USA) 63 63
S.Kenin (USA) d [LL] M.Brengle (USA) 60 46 76(4) – saved two match points
L.Safarova (CZE) d P.Martic (CRO) 64 64
T.Maria (GER) d A.Radwanska (POL) 63 63
V.Lapko (BLR) d K.Bondarenko (UKR) 63 63
A.Bogdan (ROU) d [Q] M.Bouzkova (CZE) 64 62
L.Arruabarrena (ESP) d K.Kozlova (UKR) 60 63
C.Witthoeft (GER) d C.Dolehide (USA) 63 76(6)
V.King (USA) d N.Vikhlyantseva (RUS) 76(4) 63
[Q] A.Kalinina (UKR) d [Q] K.Von Deichmann (LIE) 16 76(0) 52 ret. (cramping)
[Q] J.Teichmann (SUI) d D.Jakupovic (SLO) 63 60
[Q] K.Muchova (CZE) d D.Yastremska (UKR) 64 62
[WC] V.Azarenka (BLR) d V.Kuzmova (SVK) 63 75
[WC] C.Liu (USA) d P.Hercog (SLO) 76(4) 16 64