Fourth seed Simona Halep is out of the Australian Open in the first round for the second year in a row. She has been defeated by unseeded American, Shelby Rogers, who won 6-3 6-1.
The victory marks the first top five victory for Shelby Rogers who has enjoyed a strong start to 2017. After pushing Elina Svitolina close in Brisbane she then reached the quarter-finals in Hobart before her superb victory over Halep.
The Romanian got off to a decent start, pressuring the serve of her American opponent. Shelby Rogers stood firm though to save a break point before starting to turn the momentum. At 2-2 she missed three break points as Simona Halep refused to buckle.
The world #4 finally wilted in the sixth game of the opening set. After saving two more break points she dumped a forehand in the net to hand the advantage to Rogers.
The American, who reached the quarter-finals of the French Open last year, did not need asking twice, going on to comfortably take the first set 6-3.
Simona Halep Tumbles Out In Chaotic Start to Australian Open
Simona Halep was struggling with some sort of knee injury and, during the break between the two sets, called the trainer onto court to take a painkiller.
Shelby Rogers’ penetrating groundstrokes were causing Simona Halep all kinds of problems as the American found her groove. It did not take long to break in the second set, converting her first break point in the third game of the set.
A listless looking Halep could not do anything to stem the tide of Rogers. In the fifth game of the second set the American once again needed just a single chance. A powerful inside out forehand winner sealing the double break.
Simona Halep had won their only previous meeting comfortably at the US Open in 2015 but it was to be a complete reverse this time around. A delighted Rogers sealed the victory at the first time of asking, progressing to the second round.
This is the second time in consecutive years that Simona Halep has lost her opening match in Melbourne. In 2016 she fell to qualifier Zhang Shuai 6-4 6-3.
Following the victory, Shelby Rogers said, “I played really well today. I actually didn’t play here last year so its extra special for me to be back in Australia.
“There are no easy matches at this level and some are definitely a little tougher than others so I’m happy to get through and definitely take a little confidence from what I was doing today.”
Rogers will play the winner of Ashleigh Barty and Annika Beck in round two.