Tennis: Last year's Wimbledon semi-finalist Simona Halep suffers shock first-round exit

Romanian third seed Simona Halep became Wimbledon's biggest casualty so far when she lost 5-7, 6-4, 6-3 to Jana Cepelova of Slovakia in the first round.
Romanian third seed Simona Halep became Wimbledon's biggest casualty so far when she lost 5-7, 6-4, 6-3 to Jana Cepelova of Slovakia in the first round.PHOTO: EPA

LONDON (REUTERS/AFP) - Romanian third seed Simona Halep became Wimbledon's biggest casualty so far when she lost 5-7, 6-4, 6-3 to Jana Cepelova of Slovakia in the first round on Tuesday.

Halep, a semi-finalist last year at the All England Club, came unstuck under a flurry of unforced errors, her tally of 34 including seven double faults.

The shock loss to the 22-year-old Cepelova, ranked 106th in the world, completed a miserable month for 2014 French Open runner-up Halep who was knocked out in the second round at Roland Garros.

Said a dejected Halep, ranked third in the world: "I knew it would be a difficult tournament for me. But, yeah, I didn't expect to lose in first round. Life is not always good to you. Emotionally, I wasn't there. I couldn't handle it."

For Cepelova, it was a stunning result for her on Court One. She had won only one match on the tour all year before her unexpected victory but could count on her big match experience from beating world number one Serena Williams in Charleston last year.

She goes on to face another Romanian, Monica Niculescu, in the second round. Joining her will be Danish fifth seed Caroline Wozniacki, 10th-seeded German Angelique Kerber and 13th-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska from Poland, the runner-up in 2012.

Also leaving early was the sport's poster girl Eugenie Bouchard. The 21-year-old Canadian lost 7-6 (7/3), 6-4 to Chinese qualifier Duan Ying-Ying, the world number 117 who had never previously beaten a player inside the top 75.

The defeat was 12th-seeded Bouchard's 12th in her last 14 matches and will see her drop out of the world top 20.

By contrast, all of the top 16 men's seeds are still alive. Britain's number three seed Andy Murray had some tricky moments before overcoming Kazakh Mikhail Kukushkin 6-4 7-6(3) 6-4.

Despite dropping serve three times in the second set, 2013 champion Murray, who collected his fourth Queens Club crown and two claycourt titles this year, has been in fine form of late and is among the favourites at SW19.

He will hope to rediscover that form in his second-round match against Dutchman Robin Haase on Thursday.