World No. 4 Simona Halep of Romania conceded a shock defeat to Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic 6-3, 4-6, 7-5 in the second round of the WTA Shenzhen Open on Wednesday.
The deciding set became a tit-for-tat battle as they broke each other during the first five games, and the Czech took the upperhand at 4-2 by holding her own for the first time in the 6th game. Then the second seed also held her game for 4-3 and broke again for 4-all.
After both kept their games to 5-all, the 20-year-old Siniakova broke Halep again in the 11th game and took a commanding 6-5 lead. Although the Romanian survived the first match-point, the 52nd-ranked Siniakova grapped her second chance and sealed the match in 124 minutes when Halep returned into the net.
"I think she played really well. She is a strong player, I never played before against her. I think she has good shots, very powerful, so she deserves to win today," said the Romanian.
Halep, the winner here in 2015, started off slowly as she fell behind 4-0 in the first set and quickly lost it.
"I was struggling, I didn't feel very good to my game. There is no excuse about that, she managed to be stronger on court and that's why she could win," Halep told the post-match press briefing.
The 2015 former champion gradually bounced back and won the second set when she held her game to 5-4 before Siniakova failed in her effort and conceded it 6-4 with an unforced error on return.