Second seed Sabalenka knocked out of Australian Open

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, January 25, 2022
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Kaia Kanepi of Estonia competes the women's singles 4th round match against Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus at Australian Open in Melbourne, Australia, Jan. 24, 2022. (Photo by Hu Jingchen/Xinhua)

Belarusian No. 2 seed Aryna Sabalenka was knocked out of the Australian Open in round four on Monday evening, losing 7-5, 2-6, 6-7 (10) against Kaia Kanepi, Estonia's world No. 115.

Despite the gap in their rankings, Kanepi has now won both of her games against the Belarusian. The last time they met was at the Gippsland Trophy in 2021.

A frustrated Sabalenka hung on by her fingertips in set three, saving four match points from her Estonian adversary.

The match was brought to a deciding tiebreaker, and Sabalenka, no longer able to hold on, was defeated 7-10.

The 36-year-old Estonian veteran boasts a wealth of experience, having played in Grand Slam tournaments since 2006, reaching the quarterfinals on six occasions.

She once again will see the final eight where she will take on No. 7 seed Iga Swiatek of Poland.

The upset is likely a huge boon for world No. 1 Ashleigh Barty, who will no longer need to overcome her arguably largest threat in Sabalenka.

Meanwhile, playing concurrently in the men's draw, Greece's world No. 4 Stefanos Tsitsipas narrowly avoided a similar upset against his round four opponent Taylor Fritz of the U.S., after a blockbuster five-set match.

The match had a final score of 4-6, 6-4, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, and lasted a brutal three hours and 23 minutes.

The two seemingly met their matches as they traded sets throughout the game. The Greek heavy-hitter committed 44 unforced errors to his opponent's 37, but was able to hit more closing shots and aces.

Tsitsipas will progress to the quarterfinals, where he will face Italy's young gun Jannik Sinner, who is ranked 10th in the world at just 20 years of age.

Tsitsipas has reached the semifinals of the Australian Open twice but is still vying for his first title.

"An epic match, that's all I can say. I gave everything, I am very proud," said a breathless Tsitsipas after his match.

Earlier in the day, No. 2 seed Daniil Medvedev secured his place in the quarterfinals after a painstaking 6-2, 7-6 (4), 6-7 (4), 7-5, victory against French-born American Maxime Cressy.

The defending U.S. Open champion will be looking for his second Grand Slam title as he goes up against Canada's 22-year-old world No. 9 Felix Auger-Aliassime in the quarterfinals.

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