eventh seed Simona Halep suffered a first-round US Open exit at the hands of qualifier Daria Snigur of Ukraine in the biggest shock of the opening day at Flushing Meadows.
The Romanian collapsed to a 2-6 6-0 3-6 defeat against the world No. 124, as her dreams of claiming a third Grand Slam singles title unexpectedly went up in smoke.
Snigur, 20, took the opening set in impressive fashion, but Halep recovered by bageling her opponent and appeared to have momentum on her side going into the decider.
However, it was the Ukrainian who took the initiative, breaking Halep’s serve twice on her way to a memorable victory in her Grand Slam main draw debut.
It was Snigur’s first tour-level match win in her first meeting with a top-10 ranked player, and it earned her a second-round clash with Magdalena Frech or Rebecca Marino.
“I’m very happy. I want to say thanks to Simona for 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,” said Snigur.
Snigur got off to a fast start, breaking Halep in the opening game and earning another break of serve on her way to taking the first set 6-2.
But Halep, who made the Wimbledon semi-finals earlier this summer and warmed up for the US Open by winning in Toronto, roared back in the second set by winning every game.
Snigur wasn’t discouraged though, as the Ukrainian – the 2019 Wimbledon junior champion – bounced back with an early break in the decider.
She then secured a second break of serve to take a big lead, but Halep responded with a break and hold of her own to leave the match finely balanced at 5-4.
Snigur made no mistake, though, seizing her third match-point chance on serve when Halep’s backhand found the net.
The 20-year-old looked stunned as the scale of her stunning achievement sunk in.