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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.<br />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.


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