Halep was broken in the third game of the game and never really recovered. She was overwhelmed by Kanepi, who collected 26 winners.
Halep, who won the French Open in June for her first Grand Slam title, seemed to get into the tournament on a high note. This month she won the Rogers Cup in Montreal and finished second at the Western and Southern Open outside of Cincinnati.
Halep also lost in the first round of last year's US Open when she was the # 2 bad luck to be played against Maria Sharapova, who entered the tournament as a wild card.
Kanepi, a 33-year-old Estonian, ranks 44th, but has reached the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam six times, including at last year's US Open when she was a qualifier.
[Take an interactive tour of the National Tennis Center, including the new Armstrong Stadium.]
Top Story Lines
• Andy Murray, who had to rest for nearly a year due to a hip injury, will play his first match in a Grand Slam tournament since Wimbledon 2017. He is 4-3 since his return to the Tour in June, but he still has a best-of-five set match to play. He meets 448th-placed James Duckworth, one of the few players in the peloton lower than Murray's No. 382.
Demetrius Freeman for the New York Times
• Sloane Stephens begins her title defense at Armstrong Stadium against Evgeniya Rodina. Seven different women have won the last seven Grand Slam singles titles; Four of these women, including Stephens, were the first big winners.
• Serena Williams opens the first night session in Ashe against Magda Linette. Their match will take place after a performance by Kelly Clarkson and a presentation with Billie Jean King, who was at the 1968 US Open finalists. Williams is only 1-2 on hard courts since reaching the Wimbledon final last month. She comes into this match with questions about the state of her game – and what fashion statement she will make for the New York crowd.
Gendler Brothers & # 39; watch games
For the first time since 1999, the Bryan brothers do not play together at the US Open. To fill the gap, the brothers Gendler – Dan and Max – will give a preview of all the actions of this year's tournament. They are active amateur players and have been going to the Open together for almost 15 years. Here they discuss their favorite games on the first day.
Grigor Dimitrov vs. Stan Wawrinka
Arthur Ashe Stadium, Noon
Dan: In many other years, this match could easily have been a semi-final, not just a first-rounder. And yet, this is the second straight major that Dimitrov, eight, and Vavrinka meet in the first round. (Wawrinka won at Wimbledon.)
Max: Wawrinka, the 2016 US Open champion, has had little success this year as he has returned from a serious knee injury. Dimitrov ended well in 2017, winning the ATP final and reaching the quarter-finals of the Australian Open to start in 2018. But he has not won any titles this year.
Dan: If you like yourself backhand, this is the game for you. They pride themselves on having two of the best on tour, and the somewhat slow hard pitches at the Open give them time to wind them up. Should be an explosion, and when that's done, we'll get …
Venus Williams vs. Svetlana Kuznetsova
Ashe Stadium, second game of the day session
Max: Venus is certainly the favorite here. I continue to admire her ability to produce top tennis despite her fight against Sjorgen's syndrome. Not to mention, she's 37, well past the usual retirement age for tennis players.
Dan: Kuznetsova is a former US Open champion who fell out of the top 100 after a wrist injury. If she can get her best tennis, we're dealing with excellent tennis, Venus attacking, and Kuznetsova counter-spinning.
Max: It's often hard to see how players come to terms with the consequences of injury stage their careers, but this match should be full of moments of magnitude that appear between grimaces. This feels a little on this opening day.
Rafael Nadal vs. David Ferrer
Ashe Stadium, second game of the night session
Dan: The marquee match on Ashe is between Rafael Nadal, the No. 1 seed, and David Ferrer, his Spanish compatriot, who has built a very successful career based on technology, fitness and determination.
Max: Ferrer won most of the ATP Tour games without winning a Grand Slam tournament. Nadal defeated him in 2013 in the final of Roland Garros, Ferrer's only final appearance.
Dan: Ferrer has said that this US Open will most likely be his last Grand Slam event. It would be a big farewell to push Nadal under the lights of Ashe.
Max: We can not sit on Ashe all day, let's talk about the new and improved Louis Armstrong Stadium!
Victoria Azarenka vs. Victoria Kuzmova
Dan: The first night, Victoria Azarenka, two-time US Open Second, and Viktoria Kuzmova, an up-and-coming Slovak woman, won their first Grand slam game earlier this year.
Max: Azarenka is the favorite, but this game is likely to swing on Kuzmova's serve. It can be contradictory and she struggles to win games on such days. Azarenka is one of the best re-athletes on tour, especially on her backhand. If Kuzmova can stand the pressure of Azarenka on her services, she might have a chance.
Around the Ground
Max: The beauty of the first week of the Open is the plethora of great matches outside the main stadium courts. Dan, what kind of outdoor meals are you watching?
Dan: Donna Vekic and Anastasija Sevastova are third on Court 17. Vekic has some of the cleanest and hardest punches on tour, while Sevastova has an unorthodox game. Up close the contrast in the styles should be a lot of fun.
Max: How about the fight of the young Canadians? The 18-year-old Felix Auger-Aliassime came through the qualifying round and met his summer doubles partner: 19-year-old Denis Shapovalov, who was the US Open star last year.
Dan: If you're looking for players with a little more experience, try the game between the veterans Feliciano Lopez and Fernando Verdasco. Court 11 will be a great place to see Lopez's full-court play and Verdasco's absurdly great forehand.
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