Tennis: Second seed Halep dumped out of Australian Open by Chinese qualifier Zhang

Simona Halep walks off the court after losing her first round match against China's Zhang Shuai at the Australian Open.
Simona Halep walks off the court after losing her first round match against China's Zhang Shuai at the Australian Open.PHOTO: REUTERS

MELBOURNE (REUTERS) - Second seed Simona Halep was knocked out of the first round of the Australian Open by Chinese qualifier Zhang Shuai on Tuesday, going down 4-6, 3-6 to the inspired world No. 133.

The 24-year-old Romanian, who came to Melbourne nursing an Achilles injury and suffering from a cold, left Margaret Court Arena in tears after the stunning upset.

Zhang was also reduced to tears after securing her first victory in a Grand Slam main singles draw at her 15th attempt, shrieking as she secured victory after 78 minutes.

"I'm so excited and happy," she said in a courtside interview. "I want to thank my coach and parents and to everybody for supporting me. I think today is my best moment."

Zhang, who will turn 27 on Thursday, will face France's Alize Cornet in the second round at Melbourne Park.