Defending champion Simona Halep was ousted in her opening match at the Connecticut Open by Slovakia’s Magdalena Rybarikova. The top seed lost the contest 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 in 1 hour and 56 minutes to bring about a surprising end to her pre-US Open tune-up.
Rybarikova played an inspired match in the featured berth of the day in New Haven, as she struck 6 aces, won 51% of her first service points and converted 6 of the 7 break point opportunities she was gifted by Halep. The victory also gave the Slovakian the 2-1 lead in the head-to-head series and marked her first win over Halep since 2011.
Halep’s surge through the rankings has taken her all the way to world No. 2, where she will now replace Li Na after the Chinese No. 1 was forced to withdraw from the entire US Open series due to a knee injury. This will be a disappointing was to set up the final Grand Slam of the season.
In other news, Alison Riske picked up an upset victory over Italy’s Flavia Pennetta, 6-1, 7-6(3) to reach the quarter-final round of the tournament. Second seed Petra Kvitova also reached the quarter-final round unscathed with a 6-2, 6-1 win over Makarova.
The US Open is scheduled to take place Monday, Aug. 25.