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  • Jason Regan

Sabalenka bombs out of Adelaide WTA event

Belarusian world No.2 Aryna Sabalenka has made a shock exit from the Adelaide International with a straight-set loss to Kaja Juvan in her season opener.

Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus went down in straight sets in her opening round clash in Adelaide.

A semi-finalist at the US Open and Wimbledon last year, Sabalenka entered 2022 eyeing a maiden grand slam title and the top ranking, held by Australia's Ash Barty.

But the 23-year-old struggled to find her best form at the WTA 500 tournament against Juvan, who is ranked 100, crashing to a 7-6 (8-6) 6-1 loss to the Slovenian.

After a first-round bye, Sabalenka had a set point at 6-5 in the tiebreak but failed to convert. She had a horror second set to bow out of the tournament.

Sabalenka struggled with her serve, racking up 18 double faults including 11 in the second set, and committed 49 unforced errors.

The win was Juvan's first against a top-10 player and earned her a spot in the quarterfinals.

"I was feeling a little bit sorry at some points because I ... knew she's not doing the best with the serve and we all know how that feels," Juvan said.
"I know she can do it better, but on the other hand it's the start of the season, it depends on the day a little bit, and I really believed that I could do it."

Sabalenka's previous best performance at Melbourne Park was a round-of-16 appearance last year.

Barty, who will be seeded to face Sabalenka in this month's Australian Open final, opens her campaign tonight against American Coco Gauff.


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