Beaten Halep laments serving woes after Sharapova defeat

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A dejected Simona Halep blamed serving struggles for her first-round defeat to Maria Sharapova at the US Open, while acknowledging she could have no complaints about the result.

The second seed at Flushing Meadows faced a demanding test after being drawn to face wildcard Sharapova, with the Russian having won each of their six previous meetings.

In her first grand slam appearance since serving a ban for violating anti-doping rules, Sharapova was able to maintain her unbeaten record in matches between the two with a 6-4 4-6 6-3 triumph.

Halep fought hard to force a decider after falling 4-1 down in set two, but ultimately came up short and felt a lack of service precision was a key factor.

"I think I gave everything I had. She was better. She was serving better. My serve was very bad," said the Romanian.

"I wanted to go more on the backhand, but didn't go. The percentage maybe was good, but it was too slow. She could attack the return very easy.

"So that's why I think I lost so many serve games. That's maybe why I lose the match. I'm pretty sure about that."

Asked if she felt she had suffered a 'cruel summer' following a string of painful defeats, Halep replied: "Well, it is a tough moment. I'm sad, of course.

"But that's tennis. I cannot say anything. I gave everything I had. Today she was stronger. I have just to go and work harder."

Although Halep credited Sharapova for playing "really well", it appeared the world number two was unimpressed by her opponent leaving the court ahead of the final set.

When a reporter mentioned Sharapova's brief disappearance, Halep said: "Like always," before adding: "I'm used [to it]. When I play against her, she does that all the time.

"I didn't think about that. It's her style and I don't comment."