PARIS (REUTERS) – Former world number one Simona Halep crashed out in the second round of the French Open on Thursday (May 26) as she failed to find a way past the aggressive game of Chinese teenager Zheng Qinwen and fell to a 2-6 6-2 6-1 loss.
Halep, who lifted the trophy at Roland Garros in 2018 before winning Wimbledon the following year, came into the contest on Court Simonne Mathieu having won her only prior meeting against the 19-year-old Zheng in straight sets in Melbourne in January.
The 30-year-old Romanian got off to a flying start by dominating play from the baseline, breezing through the opening set and going up a break before Zheng, ranked 74th in the world took control.
Winners started flowing from the Chinese player’s racket as the unforced errors count started soaring for Halep and Zheng did not look back from there on.
Zheng, who hit 28 winners to her opponent’s nine, won eight games in a row to go up 3-0 in the deciding third set and Halep won just one more game in the match.
“I have been working really hard, and it was really nice, that was my best performance. I am happy today,” Zheng said in an interview on court.
The Romanian also seemed to struggle with her breathing during the third set and had her pulse and blood pressure checked on court.
Zheng, playing only her second major after making her Grand Slam debut at the Australian Open, will meet the winner of the match between local hope Alize Cornet and former champion Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia in the third round.
On another day of upsets for the seeded players in the women’s draw, American Shelby Rogers sent compatriot and Australian Open finalist Danielle Collins packing with the ninth seed losing 6-4 6-3.
Local wildcard Leolia Jeanjean earlier swept away former world number one and eighth seed Karolina Pliskova in straight sets.