Second-ranked Sabalenka’s woes continue in Adelaide


World No.2-ranked Aryna Sabalenka has lost another first-round match at an Australian Open tune-up tournament to a much lower-ranked opponent.

Sabalenka lost 5-7, 6-1, 7-5 to Sweden’s Rebecca Peterson, who came into the match at the Adelaide International ranked No. 395.

Last week in the opening round of the first Adelaide International tournament, Sabalenka lost 7-6 (6), 6-1 to Kaja Juvan, who is ranked 100th.

While top-ranked Ash Barty is a perfect seven from seven this year after sweeping to the singles and doubles titles at the first of successive Adelaide Internationals, Sabalenka hasn’t won in more than two months. Barty is not playing in Adelaide after her successful last week in the South Australian state capital.

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In other first-round matches at Adelaide, Madison Brengle beat Anastasia Potapova 7-5, 4-6, 6-1 and fourth-seeded Tamara Zidansek defeated Heather Watson 2-6, 6-2, 7-6 (4).

At the Sydney Tennis Classic, Ajla Tomljanovic beat Anna Schmiedlova 6-2, 6-3 in a first-round match.

Tomljanovic will next face fifth-seeded Paula Badosa after the Spanish world No. 9 beat Jelena Ostapenko 7-6 (1) 6-1.

The 28-year-old Tomljanovic has never gone further than round two at the Australian Open but last year made the quarterfinals at Wimbledon in a career-best showing.

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In another match, Olympic champion Belinda Bencic made a solid start to 2022 with a 6-3, 6-2 victory over Brazil’s Beatriz Haddad Maia to reach the second round. Swiss Bencic, who heads to the Australian Open bidding to add a maiden Grand Slam singles title to her Tokyo Games gold, broke Haddad Maia three times in the contest on Ken Rosewall Arena.

In the ATP 250 tournament, Argentine Federico Delbonis was beaten by lucky loser Denis Kudla of the United States 6-3, 6-1, while Brandon Nakashima won his match against Czech qualifier Jiri Vesely 7-6(2), 7-6(0).

Two high-profile British players were scheduled to play their first-round matches later on Tuesday — Andy Murray and U.S. Open champion Emma Raducanu, both in Sydney.

(With inputs from Reuters)

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