Defending Champion Sabalenka Barely Survives In Her First Match At 2024 Madrid Open

Defending Champion Sabalenka Barely Survives In Her First Match At 2024 Madrid Open

by Zachary Wimer

Aryna Sabalenka started her title defense at the 2024 Madrid Open with a very hard-fought win over Magda Linette.

This was a match that was much tougher than the Belarusian might have liked, but there are reasons for it. Chiefly, it's because Linette is a pretty solid player who rarely loses matches without a fight, and she gave Sabalenka a great fight in the Spanish capital.

The Belarusian, of course, is the defending champion, having won the WTA 1000 event last year with an impressive win over Iga Swiatek in the final. Her tennis in recent weeks hasn't been all that great, and this match was the same.

She did win, so that's what ultimately counts, but she had to work really hard for it. The first set was pretty competitive, where Sabalenka took an early lead and held her nerve for the rest of it.

Linette had chances, of course, but she couldn't quite find the breakthrough, as the second seed won it 6-4. The second set was just a much sharper display from the Polish player, but her opponent also helped her.

The Belarusian's serve stopped delivering, and it gave Linette chances to really put her opponent under pressure. That resulted in a comfortable 6-3 second set win. The final set was a pretty close battle as well.

Sabalenka scored a very important break point but couldn't really create any chances on her opponent's end. It eventually came at 4-3 in the final set when she finally broke through, taking a 5-3 lead and then held to win the match 6-4, 3-6, 6-3.

It was just a very tough match, and tiny details ended up being crucial. Sabalenka was a bit calmer down the line, which is likely due to her experience, and she lives to fight another day in Madrid. That will either be a match against Katie Boulter or Robin Montgomery.


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