Unseeded American Shelby Rogers delivered a huge upset in the first round of the Australian Open when she rolled to a 6-3, 6-1 victory over fourth-seeded Simona Halep on Monday at Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne, Australia.
Rogers needed just 75 minutes to dispatch Halep, who many forecasters tabbed as one of the favorites to win the women's title.
Instead, it marked the second straight year in which Halep was eliminated in the first round. The Romanian requested medical treatment on her left knee after losing the first set and was unable to mount a charge.
Meanwhile, Rogers connected on 26 winners in notching one of the biggest victories of her career.
"Pretty incredible. I played pretty well today," Rogers said in a courtside interview. "I actually didn't play here last year (because of injury) so it is extra special for me to be back in Australia."
The 24-year-old Rogers advanced past the second round just twice last season, most notably at the French Open. The upset over Halep raises the stakes.
"There are no easy matches at this level," Rogers said. "Some are definitely a little tougher than others. I'm happy to get through and definitely take a little confidence from what I was doing today."
Rogers is ranked No. 52 in the world.
"I have had some tough draws in the slams, so I'm kind of used to that, playing the seeds and playing big matches right off the bat," Halep said.
American Venus Williams, the No. 13 seed, got off to a slow start but advanced with a 7-6 (5), 7-5 victory over Kateryna Kozlova of Ukraine.
Kozlova took a 4-2 lead in the first set, but Williams battled back to force a tiebreaker. Williams held a triple set point at 6-3 in the breaker, but made two errors before finishing off the first set with an ace.
The 36-year-old Williams avoided a tiebreaker in the second set, breaking Kozlova at love in the 12th game, finishing the match with a forehand winner.
Seventh-seeded Garbine Muguruza of Spain had to battle before posting a 7-5, 6-4 victory over Marina Erakovic of New Zealand.
Olympic singles gold medalist Monica Puig had an easy time in her first match by winning in just 53 minutes. The 29th-seeded Puerto Rican rolled to a 6-0, 6-1 win over Romania's Patricia Maria Tig.
American Varvara Lepchenko pulled off an upset of her own by posting a 7-5, 7-6 (5) victory over 19th-seeded Kiki Bertens of The Netherlands.
Former No. 1 player Jelena Jankovic of Serbia, who turns 32 next month, eliminated 26th-seeded Laura Siegemund of Germany 6-1, 1-6, 6-4.
Romania's Irina Begu, seeded 27th, registered a 5-7, 6-3, 6-4 victory over Russia's Yaroslava Shvedova.
Samantha Crawford defeated Lauren Davis 4-6, 6-3, 6-0 in a battle of Americans.
China's Ying-Ying Duan also advanced with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Slovakia's Rebecca Sramkova. Germany's Mona Barthel was a 6-3, 7-6 (4) winner over Australia's Destanee Aiava and Germany's Julia Goerges defeated Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.
Also on Monday, American Coco Vandeweghe posted a 6-1, 7-6 (3) upset of 15th-seeded Italian Roberta Vinci and 20th-ranked Chinese star Shuai Zhang cruised to a 6-0, 6-3 triumph over Belarussian Aliaksandra Sasnovich. Eleventh-seeded Ukrainian Elina Svitolina breezed to a 6-0, 6-2 win over Galina Voskoboeva and 24th-ranked Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchkenkova posted a 6-1, 7-6 (2) victory over countrywoman Evgeniya Rodina,
Other winners included 32nd-seeded Latvian Anastasija Sevastova, Americans Samantha Crawford, Julia Boserup and Alison Riske, France's Pauline Parmentier, Slovakia's Kristina Kucova, Russian Natalia Vikhlyantaseva abd Switzerland's Stefanie Voegele.
No. 1-ranked Angelique Kerber was among those who played their opening match Monday evening.