Halep lost the first set but, unlike at the U.S. Open, was able to battle back for the victory.
MELBOURNE — Simona Halep climbed out of a deficit of a set and a break to avoid becoming the first No. 1-seeded woman to lose in the Australian Open's first round in 40 years.
Halep reeled off the last five games, and 13 of the final 15 points, to come back and beat Kaia Kanepi 6-7 (2), 6-4, 6-2.
Kanepi received treatment from a trainer for a blister on her left ring finger in the third set.
Kanepi had beaten Halep at the U.S. Open in September, only the sixth time in the professional era that a woman seeded No. 1 exited a Grand Slam tournament in the opening round.