NEW YORK: Second seed Simona Halep survived a scare at the US Open by overtaking American wild card Danielle Collins 6-7 (2), 6-1, 6-2 in yesterday’s opening center court match.
The French Open finalist moves on to face Slovakian Jana Cepelova, a 2-6, 7-5, 6-1 winner over Spain’s Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor, in the second round of the season’s last grand slam.
But the 22-year-old Romanian had a tricky time getting by Collins, a US college champion from the University of Virginia.
Down a break at 3-4, the 20-year-old American brought the set back on serve at 4-all and with her confidence growing the collegian ran away with the decider by taking advantage of a slew of errors from Halep.
That shock seemed to snap the Romanian back to attention, and bring her groundstrokes under control as she roared to victory over Collins, who was playing her first tour-level main draw match.
“She played a tough match, I want to congratulate her,” world number two Halep said in an on-court interview. “First set I was a little bit nervous. This court is huge. “It’s my best ranking ever and best moment of my life. I have to enjoy it, but it’s not easy. Everybody is telling me I have chances to win this title.”
Meanwhile, World number one Djokovic, recently married and soon to be a father for the first time, is gunning for a fifth straight US Open finals appearance and a second title to add to the one he won in 2011.
He was set for a first career meeting with Diego Schwartzman, a 22-year-old from Argentina.
“I know he’s very quick on the court,” Djokovic said. “He definitely has nothing to lose. I’m going to try to use my experience on the center court and get a win.”