Top seed and Defending Champion Halep Stunned in First Match

BWA_0626

A champion here a year ago, world No. 2 and top seed Simona Halep was shocked in her first match of the 2014 Connecticut Open presented by United Technologies, beaten by Magdalena Rybarikova on Stadium Court, 6-2, 4-6, 6-3.

MORE: Updated Draws | Order of Play | Tickets | Legends Event

Rybarikova, the world No. 68, advances to the quarterfinals where she will face American upstart Alison Riske, a winner earlier on Tuesday.

Halep looked flat from the get-go, dropping the first set in 28 minutes. She was a semifinalist last week in Cincinnati, losing to Maria Sharapova in three tight sets. Rybarikova closed the match out in a long, nervy ninth game of the third set, finally belting a serve that Halep pushed long in reply.

“She played really well today,” said Halep. “It was a good match for me, but always when I lose I’m a little bit sad. I have to take the positive things from today and go forward.”

The loss marks the first time that Halep has dropped her opening match at a tournament since April in Stuttgart. The win is the best of Rybarikova’s career, having a 4-16 record against top 10 players and never defeating any player ranked higher than eight.

“I was just trying to mix up my game and make her think,” Rybarikova said. “I think I played smart. I tried to stay calm but I got nervous at the end. I’m glad I served well to finish.”

It’s the third year in a row that a top seed has lost their first match in New Haven: Sara Errani did so in 2013 and Agnieszka Radwanska in 2012.

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