World number two Aryna Sabalenka’s Australian Open preparations were in tatters Tuesday when she self-destructively for the second week in a row and was barely able to serve in a preparation event in Adelaide. A week after her delivery left her in the first of Adelaide’s two preliminary tournaments, Sabalenka suffered the same fate when she was surprised in three sets by world No. 93 Rebecca Peterson, 5-7, 6- 1, 7-5. Sabalenka committed 21 double faults and was reduced to serving under the arm in the second and third sets in a desperate effort to get the ball into play.
She took so much pace on her first serves that at one point they were barely clearing the net.
The 23-year-old Belarusian became distraught in the third set and, after the referee asked her if she was okay, she burst into tears during her next service game.
Her only consolation was that she was still hitting her groundstrokes with power and location, but she was not a surprise when she retreated at the first hurdle.
“That was definitely the weirdest game I’ve ever played,” said Peterson, a Swedish qualifier. “It was hard to stay focused. I know she was struggling a lot.
“She had to stay in my own world, it was really difficult.”
Fourth-seeded Slovenian Tamara Zidansek made progress when she defeated British qualifier Heather Watson 2-6, 6-2, 7-6 (7/4). Seventh-seeded Jill Teichmann fell to American qualifier Lauren Davis 1-6, 7-6 (7/3), 6-4.
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Australian wildcard Maddison Inglis beat Montenegrin Danka Kovinic 6-4, 1-6, 6-2, while other winners were American Madison Brengle, who beat Russian Anastasia Potapova 7-5, 4-6, 6-1 and the Czech player Tereza Martincova. she beat Ukraine’s Dayana Yastremska 6-4, 3-6, 6-3.
In the men’s draw, fifth-seeded South African Lloyd Harris was defeated by South Korean Kwon Soon-woo 5-7, 7-5, 6-4.