WTA Tour

Defending champ Sabalenka suffers shock Shenzhen loss

2020-01-07 09:48
Aryna Sabalenka
Aryna Sabalenka (Getty Images)

Shanghai - Reigning champion Aryna Sabalenka and top seed Belinda Bencic suffered shock defeats at the Shenzhen Open on Tuesday, dealing a setback to their Australian Open preparations.

World No 11 Sabalenka lost 6-4, 6-4 to the Czech left-hander Kristyna Pliskova as the Belarusian's title defence came to a juddering halt in the second round.

Earlier, on a day of upsets in southern China, world No 8 Bencic was defeated in her opening match of the year.

The Swiss was a surprise loser to the 58th-ranked Anna Blinkova, the Russian coming back from a set down to win 3-6, 6-3, 6-3.

"I didn't feel great in the beginning of the match," said Blinkova, 21, after claiming the biggest scalp of her career.

"I didn't feel the ball and my shots. I didn't play bad, but I managed to increase the level of my game slowly, step by step."

The Australian Open, the first Grand Slam of the season, begins in just under two weeks.

Read more on:    wta tour  |  aryna sabalenka  |  belinda bencic  |  tennis


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