Last Updated on January 11, 2022
Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka has lost in Adelaide to the 93rd racket of the world. Moreover, in the last matches of the second number of the world makes almost 20 double faults. This is already some kind of an anti-record!
The year 2021 was the best in the career of the Belarusian tennis player Aryna Sabalenka. For the first time, she went up to 2nd place in the WTA ranking, improved her personal bests at all the Grand Slam tournaments, and reached the semifinals at Wimbledon and the US Open.
Many expected that the new season would be Aryna’s finest hour, that she would finally win a Slam and even become world number one. All the odds were in her favor. However, 2022 began disastrously for Sabalenka – she lost in two tournaments in Adelaide to tennis players who are on the border of the first hundred ratings!
In fact, Aryna’s problems began earlier. After the US Open, when the Belarusian reached the semifinals and lost only to Leylah Fernandez, she went to the WTA-1000 tournament in Indian Wells and was tested positive for coronavirus. And instead of matches and training, Sabalenka was forced to sit out the quarantine prescribed in such cases. In late October the Belarusian had a poor showing at the Kremlin Cup in Moscow (she lost her second match), and three weeks later at the WTA Finals in Guadalajara, she won only one match out of three and did not get out of the group.
At the beginning of the new season, Aryna flew to Adelaide, where two tournaments are held in a row before the Australian Open. At the first of these competitions, the Belarusian was seeded No. 2 and in her opening match against Slovenian Kaja Juvan. To the surprise of many, Sabalenka lost in two sets – 6-7, 1-6 and was the most impressive in the double faults – 18.
Lacking match practice before the Australian Open, Aryna asked for a wild-card to Adelaide 2. But here in the first match against not the most distinguished opponent – qualifier Rebecca Peterson of Sweden, who is now the 93rd number of the WTA ranking – the Belarusian was a fiasco. Having won the first set Sabalenka still managed to lose the match – 5:7, 6:1, 7:5.
Through to round 2⃣!
— Adelaide International (@AdelaideTennis) January 11, 2022
The key problem for Sabalenka in recent matches has been her serve. This is surprising, strange and terrible for Aryna, because this component of the game has always been the key to success for the Belarusian. Serving was so bad for Sabalenka against Peterson that she even served from the hand. This is usually done out of desperation or when she has a very serious physical problem.
The chair judge even asked the crying tennis player if she was alright and there was no injury. Aryna told her, “It’s nothing. It’s a technical problem. I just can’t serve better. As a result the Belarusian tennis player had 21 double faults in three sets!
Aryna’s opponent admitted after the match that she didn’t expect such a game from her: “It was the weirdest match I’ve ever played. It was hard not to pay attention, seeing that the opponent was constantly fighting the problem.” But double faults have haunted Sabalenka for several matches now. In two games of the 2022 season, she has made a total of 39 doubles. And if she includes the last two matches of last year in Guadalajara, it means that Aryna makes 18.5 double faults during 4 matches on average. It’s a disaster!
She has just been seeded at the Australian Open – 2022, where Arina got a very high No.2. But if the Belarusian tennis player doesn’t improve her serve in the next few days of training, it will certainly be difficult to count on her success in Melbourne.