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Aryna Sabalenka in shock scenes as tennis fans saddened by Victoria Azarenka drama

Aryna Sabalenka in shock scenes as tennis fans saddened by Victoria Azarenka drama


Victoriza Azarenka and Aryna Sabalenka in Dubai.

Victoria Azarenka retired hurt against Elena Rybakina, while Aryna Sabalenka lost to Donna Vekic. Image: Getty

Aryna Sabalenka has since lost her first first match winning the Australian Open in January on a day full of drama in Dubai Tennis Championships. The world number 2, returning to the tour after her Australian Open win, coughed up a set and 2-0 lead in a shock 6-7 (5-7) 6-3 6-0 defeat to Donna Vekic .

After winning the first set in a tiebreak, Sabalenka led 2-0 with a game point for 3-0 in the second and looked well on his way to victory. But a stunning winner from Vekic kept her alive and looked to be a huge turning point.

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The Croatian then recorded a stunning comeback victory: her sixth victory over Sabalenka in eight meetings. Vekic dominated the first meetings against Sabalenka before the Belarusian broke through into the higher echelons of women's tennis.

“I was already on the beach,” Vekic admitted after the match, thinking she was destined to lose. “To be honest, I didn't have big expectations when I came to Dubai. I told my coach that I'm taking this week as a half-holiday. I can tell you that I spent more time on the beach than on the field. Maybe that's good thing.” way forward.”

Donna Vekic in action against Aryna Sabalenka in Dubai.Donna Vekic in action against Aryna Sabalenka in Dubai.

Donna Vekic celebrates during her match against Aryna Sabalenka in Dubai. (Getty Images)

While Sabalenka committed a series of double faults, Vekic was ruthless when he had the chance. She won twelve of the last thirteen matches and set up a clash with Sorana Cirstea, who defeated Veronika Kudermetova 6-1, 6-4.

“I feel like the conditions here don't suit me at all. It's really difficult for me to compete here in Dubai,” Sabalenka said. “I won the first set. I finished with a break. I didn't feel like I was awake. The level was so bad from me today.

I'm going to stay here for a few days, then I'm going to move to LA and keep practicing, keep solving problems that happened today. Hopefully I'll be in better shape for Indian Wells.

Swiatek and Coco Gauff win while Victoria Azarenka retires hurt

Two of Sabalenka's biggest rivals avoided a similar fate, with world number 1 Iga Swiatek battling to a 6-4 6-4 victory over Sloane Stephens, and number 3 Coco Gauff ahead of Elisabetta Cocciaretto. Italy 6-1 7-5. World number 4 Elena Rybakina also avoided disappointment then Victoria Azarenka in need of retirement.

Azarenka appeared to suffer physically as the match progressed, pulling the pin after losing the second set 6–2. The Belarusian had won the first 6-4 and looked to pull off another huge upset. Azarenka appeared to be in tears as she left the court, leaving fans saddened by the two-time Grand Slam champion.

It's not easy to finish a match like this. I didn't really understand what was happening,” Rybakina said. 'Maybe it was from the past. I wish Vika a speedy recovery. Nice to play another match here. It's a bit difficult to get used to the conditions, but I'm very happy that I'll be playing another one.

Also on Tuesday, Wimbledon champion Marketa Vondrousova returned to form to beat Peyton Stearns for the third time in eight months 6-1 5-7 6-2. Jelena Ostapenko overtook Lulu Sun, while eighth seed Maria Sakkari completed a run of three straight defeats by beating Emma Navarro.

Karolina Muchova, who finished second at last year's French Open, also revealed on Tuesday that she has undergone surgery on her right wrist due to an injury that has sidelined her since reaching the US Open semi-finals in September. “The operation was successful and I will do everything I can to see you back on the field soon,” Muchova wrote on social media.

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