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The U.S. Open is unpredictable and No. 7 ranked Simona Halep learned the hard way Monday.
The two-time Grand Slam champion suffered a devastating loss to Ukrainian qualifier Daria Snigur. It was the first tour-level win for Snigur topping Halep 6-2, 0-6, 6-4. She held back tears as she explained what the win meant for her and her country, which is dealing with Russia’s invasion.
“I’m very happy. I’m very, very, very nervous. But I tried to do my best,” she said, via WTATennis.com.
She wore a blue ribbon in the colors of the Ukraine flag – blue and yellow. She was on the same court — Louis Armstrong Stadium — where she participated in the “Tennis Plays for Peace Exhibition” to raise money to aid Ukraine.
“I think it helped me because I was here in ‘Tennis Plays for Peace’ and I think it helped me a little bit,” she said.
Halep had won 19 of her last 22 matches and made a return to the top 10 in the WTA rankings. She was seeded No. 7 coming into the tournament. She is 21-11 in New York ad has lost in the first round of three of her last five appearances. She last won a Grand Slam in 2019 at Wimbledon.
Snigur, 20, was ranked as high as No. 2 on the junior circuit. She lost to Simona Waltert in the quarterfinal of the TF Bronx W60 event before getting a crack at her first Grand Slam event.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.