The opening day of the US Open has dished up a massive upset, with two-time grand slam champion Simona Halep dumped out of the first round by little-known Ukrainian Daria Snigur.
The 20-year-old qualifier stunned the women’s seventh seed, beating Halep 6-2, 0-6, 6-4 in a first-round boilover at Flushing Meadows.
It was Snigur’s first-ever win on the WTA Tour.
Snigur broke down on court after sealing the famous win, before struggling through tears to explain what the victory meant to her family and her country during its war with Russia.
The Ukrainian wore a pin on her chest in the colours of her national flag and put her hands around it after the final point.
Snigur was part of last week’s “Tennis Plays for Peace Exhibition” in Louis Armstrong Stadium to raise money to aid Ukraine.
She admitted that it might have helped her nerves when she returned to the same court for her opening match, but no one expected her to defeat one of the favourites for the women’s title.
Halep had won 19 of her last 22 matches and recently returned to the top 10.
However, the US Open has not been a happy hunting ground for the Romanian, and so it proved again as Snigur sent the women’s heavyweight packing to leave tennis fans in shock.
Maria Sakkari avenges Wimbledon defeat
In other early women’s action on day one, Maria Sakkari gained revenge for her Wimbledon semi-final defeat against 35-year-old German mother-of two Tatjana Maria, after winning a three-set rollercoaster.
Sakkari, now up to No.3 in the world and third seed, justified her superior billing, surviving a second-set wobble to win 6-4 3-6 6-0.
Sakkari, who made the semi-finals at Flushing Meadows in 2021, will next meet Diane Parry or Xiy Wang.
Another surprise headliner at Wimbledon was Harmony Tan, who knocked out Serena Williams on the multiple champion’s final visit to SW19.
Tan went on to reach the fourth round in London but she will not be making news in New York.
The Frenchwoman, who was given a wildcard entry, has been beaten in the opening round by 2019 US Open champ Bianca Andreescu 6-0 3-6 6-1.
The Canadian will now face Brazil’s 15th-seeded Beatriz Haddad Maia who thrashed Croatia’s Ana Konjuh 6-0 6-0.
Reaching the second round was 17th-seed Caroline Garcia who beat Kamilla Rakhimova 6-2 6-4 and now meets a second lucky loser in Anna Kalinskaya who upset Rebecca Peterson 6-4 6-3.
American Alison Riske, seeded 29th, beat compatriot Eleana Yu 6-2 6-4 and now meets Colombia’s Camila Osorio, who dropped only four games after losing the first set to Ann Li 6-1.
Elsewhere Veronika Kudermetova defeated Donna Vekic 7-5 6-3.