In a first, Wimbledon champion Simona Halep advanced to the second round of the US Open, beating Nicole Gibbs 6-3, 3-6, 6-2 at the Louis Armstrong Stadium.

Fourth seed Halep had never made it to the second round at Flushing Meadows, having been bested by Russia’s Maria Sharapova in 2017 and then losing to Kaia Kanepi of Estonia last year, reports Xinhua news agency.

Halep’s opponent Gibbs was featuring in the tournament as another player had previously withdrawn. The 26-year-old American was diagnosed with a form of oral cancer earlier this year and underwent surgery in May to remove a tumor.

Halep was thrilled with her first victory at the US Open, and now has her eyes set on regaining the No. 1 spot, she had held till January.

“If I’m healthy, I will go for it 100 per cent,” Halep said. “I want to finish as No. 1. I still have a chance, so I’m going to work for them. I’m confident I have actually a big chance. I will fight.”

Halep now faces a second-round tie against US qualifier Taylor Townsend on Thursday.