LONDON (Reuters) - Simona Halep lost her chance to go on a court she likened to “a very nice hotel” after she checked out of Wimbledon early on Tuesday following a shock 5-7 6-4 6-3 defeat by 106th-ranked Slovakian Jana Cepelova.
The Romanian third seed made it to the semi-finals 12 months ago but came unstuck under a flurry of unforced errors, her tally of 34 including seven double faults.
The result completed a miserable month for 2014 French Open runner-up Halep who was knocked out in the second round at Roland Garros.
The 23-year-old will be eager to forget about her Court One ordeal as not only was she broken eight times, she also lost to a woman who had previously won only one tour level match all year.
That defeat meant Halep will not have the luxury of experiencing the comforts of playing on Wimbledon’s Centre Court.
“You go on court, it’s like you go into a very nice hotel. It’s like they have carpet on the floor and the door is really nice. It’s wood and it’s really nice,” Halep said just three days ago.
“They have a message up on the door. That made me, like, stronger and more motivated to go on court and to feel good.”
Unfortunately for Halep, Court One’s entrance is devoid of any inspirational message from Rudyard Kipling and the Romanian was left to dwell on what might have been.
“I knew it would be a difficult tournament for me. But, yeah, I didn’t expect to lose in first round,” a dejected Halep told reporters.
“Life is not always good to you. Emotionally, I wasn’t there. I couldn’t handle it.”
Editing by Ed Osmond