ADELAIDE, Australia — Second-ranked Aryna Sabalenka had an upset 7-6 (6), 6-1 loss to No. 100-ranked Kaja Juvan in her first match of the season at the Adelaide International, one of the main tune-up tournaments for the Australian Open.
Sabalenka, a semifinalist at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open last year, wasted a set point as she struggled with her serve in the tiebreaker. She then had 11 double-faults in the second set to give her 18 in total for the match.
The win was Juvan’s first against a Top 10 player and earned her a spot in the quarterfinals.
“I was a little bit scared at first because she’s incredible and she has done so many things really, really well,” Juvan said. “But on the other hand, it’s the start of the season, it depends on the day a little bit, and I really believed that I could do it.”
Sabalenka and top-ranked Ash Barty had first-round byes in Adelaide. Barty was scheduled to play American teenager Coco Gauff.
Travel restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic mean there’s a crammed schedule of tournaments in Australia before the year’s first major starts Jan. 17 at Melbourne Park.
The WTA 500 event in Adelaide is one of three women’s tournaments this week, including two in the so-called Summer Set in Melbourne.