WATCH: Dispirited Sabalenka Breaks Racket After Shock Defeat To Kalinina In Miami

WATCH: Dispirited Sabalenka Breaks Racket After Shock Defeat To Kalinina In Miami

by Nurein Ahmed

Aryna Sabalenka rarely loses her cool on a tennis court, but she snapped during an upsetting loss to Anhelina Kalinina in the third round of the Miami Open.

The Belarusian was a major doubt to participate in this year's tournament. Sabalenka resides in Miami and even traveled to Hard Rock Stadium in time to prepare for the event, only to be hit with the bone-chilling news of the passing of her former boyfriend, Konstantin Koltsov.

Koltsov, a former ice hockey player from Belarus, was pronounced dead on Monday, March 18th, on the eve of the tournament's start date. He was 42. Investigations leading to his untimely death have begun, and the initial cause of death has been revealed as an "apparent suicide."

A brave Sabalenka soldiered to play the tournament and later clarified that she was not in a relationship at the time of Koltsov's demise. Nevertheless, it was still difficult to process the news, and the World No. 2 asked for privacy, which is why the journalists were advised not to bring any questions related to the incident.

The tournament gave Sabalenka an extra day of mourning, and her second-round match against Paula Badosa was eventually played on Friday. She won in straight sets.

But she couldn't back up that result 24 hours later as she fell to a three-set defeat to 32nd seed Anhelina Kalinina. It was a seesaw match where momentum ebbed and flowed before the Ukrainian had a foothold into the match, winning the third set 6-1.

It was one of Sabalenka's poor showings of this year, which began positively by reaching two finals and winning the Australian Open. After Kalinina sealed the victory, Sabalenka released her suppressed anger by smashing her racket on the turf and breaking it.

The two players did not proceed with the customary handshake because of the current tension between their respective countries. A video of the incident has been shared on X (formerly Twitter), and can be seen below.


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