Lizette Cabrera kept in step against second-seed Romanian Simona Halep, but ultimately lost in the first round of the Australian Open women’s singles tournament, 2-6, 1-6, Monday afternoon (Philippine time), at the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne, Australia.
As a wild card participant, drawing a two-time Grand Slam champion and current world number two was a tall order for the 23-year-old Cabrera. Still, she produced some shining moments in her fourth appearance in this year-opening Grand Slam.
Two separate winners brought Cabrera close to getting a break back in the second set. But the more veteran Halep turned it up on her serve to survive the challenge and take the 2-0 lead.
Cabrera threatened once more in the following service game of Halep. She forced the latter to overcook some of the latter’s baseline hits to take the 40-15 lead and two breakpoints. Nonetheless, Halep reset and eventually forced the Fil-Aussie into the latter’s own errors for the 4-0 lead.
The Romanian took it from there, ultimately winning the set and the match, despite Cabrera getting a break of serve late.
The Townsville native took it out in a surprisingly short fifth game to stun the 2019 Wimbledon champion in just two minutes to get on the board at 1-4. Cabrera once more grabbed the hold of serve in her next service game to get to 2-5. Halep then pocketed the opener with an ace to boot.
Cabrera has also made one-match stints in three previous Australian Open tournaments in 2017, 2018, and 2020. She missed the 2019 tourney after exiting the qualifiers in the second round.
The other Grand Slam appearances of the Fil-Aussie include the US Open in 2018 and 2020.