Sabalenka hits 21 double faults & serves underarm in first-round loss in Adelaide

A week after hitting 18 doubles faults in her loss to Kaja Juvan, world No 2 Aryna Sabalenka’s serve caused her major problems once again

Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus in action during the second round of the 2022 Adelaide International WTA 500 tennis tournament

WTA Adelaide International 2 | Draws | Schedule

World No 2 Aryna Sabalenka’s struggles with her serve continued for the second match in a row as the Belarusian resorted to serving underarm in her three-set loss to Sweden’s Rebecca Peterson in the first round of the WTA Adelaide International 2.

At last week’s WTA Adelaide International, Sabalenka hit 18 doubles faults in her first match, going down to Kaja Juvan in straight sets.

On Tuesday, it was more of the same as the 23-year-old piled up 21 doubles faults and was forced to resort to serving underarm on several occasions in the second and third sets during her 5-7, 6-1, 7-5 loss to Peterson in two hours and 18 minutes.

It was a career-best win for the Swede, who had never beaten a top 10 player until today. Peterson goes on to play Madison Brengle next, after the American scored a 7-5, 4-6, 6-1 win over Russian qualifier Anastasia Potapova.

Fourth seed Tamara Zidansek, of Slovenia, was also among the winners on Tuesday. The 2021 Roland-Garros semi-finalist defeated British qualifier Heather Watson 2-6, 6-2, 7-6 and will meet Maddison Inglis, a 6-4, 1-6, 6-2 winner over Danka Kovinic, in the second round.

The torrid start for Sabalenka in 2022 comes on the back of her best season in 2021. She reached the semi-finals of a Grand Slam for the first time at Wimbledon in July, and followed that with another semi-final appearance at the US Open. She also won singles titles in Madrid and Abu Dhabi to finish as the world’s second ranked player behind Ash Barty.

With the Australian Open less than a week away, Sabalenka will be hoping to have her serving issues fixed in time for her bid to win a first singles Grand Slam title.

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