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Rediff.com  » Sports » Upsets on Day 1 at US Open: Sharapova knocks out Halep, Konta loses

Upsets on Day 1 at US Open: Sharapova knocks out Halep, Konta loses

Last updated on: August 29, 2017 10:29 IST

Maria Sharapova in action against Simona Halep in their first round match of the US Open at Flushing Meadows on Monday 

IMAGE: Maria Sharapova in action against Simona Halep in their first round match of the US Open at Flushing Meadows on Monday. Photograph: Shannon Stapleton/Reuters

Maria Sharapova made a stunning comeback to the tennis circuit after knocking out World No 2 Simona Halep in the opening round of the US Open at Flushing Meadows in New York on Monday.

Sharapova, making her return to top-flight tennis after serving a doping ban, defeated Romanian Halep 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 to move into the 2nd round of the final major of the year.

Still shaking off the rust from a 15-month doping ban and a string of nagging injuries, the 30-year-old Sharapova needed all her skill, determination and two hours and 44 minutes to snatch victory in front of a packed Arthur Ashe stadium.

The victory becomes the highlight of what has been a torturous comeback for the former world number one, who returned to tennis in April after being banned after testing positive for metabolic modulator meldonium at last year's Australian Open.

Her progress has been slowed by a thigh injury that forced her out of the Italian Open in May and more recently left arm issues in that took her out of the second round at Stanford earlier this month.

However, there was no hint of distress against an in-form Halep as she improved her record to 7-0 against the feisty Romanian in an opening round clash that was played with the intensity more befitting of a final.

Konta falls as Krunic delivers first shock

England's Johanna Konta (left) congratulates Serbia's Aleksandra Krunic

IMAGE: England's Johanna Konta (left) congratulates Serbia's Aleksandra Krunic. Photograph: Shannon Stapleton/Reuters

Serbian Aleksandra Krunic produced the first shock of the US Open as she rallied past British seventh seed Johanna Konta 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 on Monday to advance to the second round of the season's final grand slam.

After first-round losses in her last two visits to Flushing Meadows, Krunic looked poised for yet another early exit after Konta, one of eight women here with a chance to leave New York with the world number one ranking, claimed a tight first set.

In the third set it was Krunic who scored the decisive break to go up 4-2 and then held her nerve as she finished off her opponent on her second match point when Konta sent her return long and wide.

It was a stunningly quick end for Wimbledon semi-finalist Konta, who had been expected to be among the title contenders after reaching the fourth round here the last two years.

The 26-year-old certainly had her chances.

After capitalising on all three break chances in the first set, Konta was unable to convert any of her three break points in the second.

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