WTA

Rybakina suffers early Madrid Open exit as Swiatek makes winning start

By Sports Desk April 28, 2023

Elena Rybakina made a second-round exit from the Madrid Open as a difficult start to the clay campaign continued for the Australian Open runner-up and Indian Wells champion.

After abandoning a last-16 clash with Beatriz Haddad Maia last week in Stuttgart due to a back injury, this time Rybakina lasted the distance against Anna Kalinskaya but suffered a 7-5 4-6 6-2 defeat. She had benefitted from a first-round bye but was found wanting on Friday.

World number 60 Kalinskaya got the better of the seventh-ranked Rybakina in two hours and 13 minutes, avenging a defeat at the same stage in Miami last month to her fellow Moscow-born player.

Iga Swiatek made no such mistake in her opening match, after also receiving a first-round bye, with the world number one posting a 6-3 6-2 win over Austria's Julia Grabher.

Swiatek led by an early break in the second set but was broken back; however, she was soon back in the ascendancy and made sure of a place in the last-32 stage of a tournament she elected to miss last year due to a minor injury.

Third seed Jessica Pegula was tested by Poland's Magdalena Frech, but the American came through 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 in an hour and 41 minutes. Pegula was runner-up to Ons Jabeur in last year's final.

Pegula's fellow US player, Alycia Parks, continued to catch the eye as the 22-year-old ousted 15th seed Victoria Azarenka, defeating the former world number one 6-2 7-6 (7-5).

Parks, who has rocketed from 150th in the rankings last November to 40th place on that list, now holds a 4-1 career winning record against opponents ranked inside the WTA's top 20.

Former French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova, seeded 11th, was tested by Danka Kovinic before powering through a deciding set to win 6-3 4-6 6-0 against the Montenegrin.

Eugenie Bouchard, meanwhile, was no match for Martina Trevisan, with the Italian running out a 6-2 7-5 winner from a clash with Canada's former Wimbledon runner-up.

Anastasia Potapova, Ekaterina Alexandrova, Daria Kasatkina, Veronika Kudermetova and Bernarda Pera were among other seeded winners as the last-32 line-up took shape, but 25th seed Jil Teichmann was beaten, going down 3-6 6-2 6-4 to Lesia Tsurenko.

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