'So Bad Level': Sabalenka Bemoans Surprising Dubai Defeat

'So Bad Level': Sabalenka Bemoans Surprising Dubai Defeat

by Zachary Wimer

Aryna Sabalenka played a very strange match at the 2024 Dubai Championships, losing to Donna Vekic in three sets.

This was the first match for Sabalenka after her Australian Open triumph, so many people were curious to see how she would do. Vekic is a tricky matchup for her as the Croatian was able to beat her a few times in the past, though Sabalenka easily won the most recent match.

That's how it looked like in their meeting in Dubai as well early, but things changed dramatically as the match went on. Vekic not only found better counters for Sabalenka but also outplayed her in the second and third sets, winning the match in the end.

That's not what the Belarusian had in mind when she traveled to Dubai, and she lamented the loss quite a bit after the match.

"The whole match I was leading, I was winning. I won the first set. I was up with break. I didn’t feel like I was up. The level was so bad today from me. She also didn’t play her best."

Sabalenka was obviously both annoyed and disappointed with how the match went, especially when considering that she was up early and won the opening set.

On top of that, she had an early break in the second set, still, it was not enough to overcome the Croatian opponent.

"At the end, she stepped in and started playing aggressively because she saw I’m not playing my best at all. That’s why she came back from that score that easy, because it was just like… who’s more lucky?"

She never bounced back, and she could have because Vekic certainly did not play as well as she could. So, all in all, it's a huge missed opportunity but not the end of the world for Sabalenka.


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