Aryna Sabalenka Madrid Open WTA

Madrid Open exit sees defending champ Aryna Sabalenka suffer rankings slip

Aryna Sabalenka will fall from fourth to at least seventh in the WTA rankings after she lost in the first round of the Madrid Open, abruptly ending her title defence. 

The Belarusian was handed by no means an easy draw in the opening round against American world number 33 Amanda Anisimova.

In fact, Anisimova seems to have Sabalenka’s number, as she led their head-to-head 3-0 entering their Madrid Open encounter.

And after just under two hours on court, the 20-year-old downed the defending champion 6-2, 3-6, 6-4 to advance to the second round.

Anisimova said in her post-match on-court interview: “It’s always enjoyable to accept the challenge, even when it’s a tough match.

“Especially when you get to win them.”

With such a poor defence of her 2021 title, Sabalenka will now lose 990 of her 1000 ranking points from the 2021 Madrid Open, seeing her points tally decrease from 4,711 to 3,721.

That places her seventh in the WTA rankings behind Karolina Pliskova but above Australian Open finalist Danielle Collins.

However, the 23-year-old could yet tumble lower depending on the results of Collins, Garbine Mugurza, Ons Jabeur and Emma Raducanu, ranked eighth through to 11th respectively.

Next up, Anisimova will take on world number 58 Petra Martic after the Croatian qualifier overcame Liumila Samsonova of Russia 7-6 (8-6), 6-1 in her first round match.

The pair share a head-to-head of 1-1 but have not played each other for three years, since the 2019 Charleston Open.

Martic won that day while Anisimova won their first meeting at the 2018 Cincinnati Open.

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