Seventh seed Simona Halep has been stunned after she was dumped out of the first round of the US Open.
The Romanian, who was one of the favourites to win the tournament, fell 2-6, 6-0, 4-6 to qualifier Daria Snigur of Ukraine, who is ranked No.124 in the world. Halep’s dreams of claiming a third Grand Slam single’s title have come to an end for this year with Snigur understandably emotional after she triumphed over one of the best players in the women’s game.
It was also the first tour-level win for 20-year-old Snigur who has managed to pull off one of the upsets of day one. She took the opening set in fine fashion but Halep soon recovered to bagel her in the second.
However, it was the Ukrainian who defied the perceived momentum shift as she took the initiative and fought back to break Halep’s serve twice on the way to an incredible victory on her main draw debut at a Grand Slam.
"I’m very happy,” said Snigur, speaking after her incredible victory at Flushing Meadows. “I want to say thanks to Simona for a such a great match.
“It was a great experience for me - it’s impossible to play against Simona and win! I want to say thanks to all the fans who watched our match today.
"I was very, very nervous but I tried to do my best. This match is for my Ukraine, for my family, for my fans, I want to say thank you to all.”
After her victory there was also a touching moment as Snigur made a heart shape around a ribbon she was wearing during the match, in the colours of her native Ukraine, which continues to suffer in the war against Russia.
For Halep the result represents a bitter disappointment after she claimed the title in Toronto just two weeks ago. The 30-year-old had managed to win 19 of her past 22 matches, making her loss to Snigur, a former junior No.2, all the more surprising.
The US Open has always been a challenging tournament for Halep since she reached the 2015 semi-finals and the quarter-finals in 2016. She went on to lose in the first round in 2017 and 2018, the second round in 2019, and the round of 16 last year.
She did, however, make it to the semi-finals of Wimbledon just under two months ago where she fell to eventual champion Elena Rybakina.