For second straight year, Halep crashes out in Australian Open opener

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Simona Halep, who fell to Shelby Rogers, was bothered by knee pain. (AP)

It didn’t take long for the Australian Open to produce its first major upset of the fortnight.

A little over an hour after the first ball was struck on Day 1 at Melbourne Park, fourth-seeded Simona Halep crashed out at the Australian Open in the first round. It was the second consecutive year she lost her opener at the season’s first Slam.

The Romanian mustered just four games in her disappointing 6-3, 6-1 loss to 52nd-ranked American Shelby Rogers.

After the match, Halep revealed that pain in her left knee limited her on court.

“In the second set, [it] was difficult to move anymore, but she deserved to win,” Halep told reporters in her post-match news conference. “…I had some anti-inflammatory before the match, and the previous days. But when you have the tension of the match—official match, the pressure—it comes harder. So I had harder pain, and I couldn't do what I wanted.”

The issue, specifically, is tendinitis, Halep confirmed. She first felt discomfort at the WTA Finals in Singapore this past fall, and the issue sprung up again in Shenzhen, where she played her first tournament of the year, and on Sunday in Australia.

Halep said that she would rest and get an MRI, but would not require surgery.

The world No. 4 gave plenty of credit to Rogers, who reached the French Open quarterfinals last year but only made it past the second round at one other tournament.

Rogers, 24, will take on wild card Ashleigh Barty in the second round. 

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