Aryna Sabalenka was a hair's breadth away from defeat. This could have been the sensation of the tournament

Aryna Sabalenka was a hair's breadth away from defeat.  This could have been the sensation of the tournament

This is not how Aryna Sabalenka imagined the second round match in Indian Wells. The second racket in the world unexpectedly encountered big problems in the clash with Peyton Stearns.

The first rounds of tournaments are characterized by the fact that the highest-ranked players receive a free ticket, and then they face much lower-ranked rivals. Aryna Sabalenka was the second racket in the world to be suspended in the first round. In the second round, she had to face Peyton Stearns, who was in 62nd place. The Belarusian did not expect that the match would last nearly three hours and that two tie-breaks would be needed to decide (6:7, 6:2, 7:6).

Sabalenka is one step away from a sensational defeat

Sabalenka had to recover from the first minutes of the match. The American was the first to win on her opponent's serve. Although the Belarusian returned the favor, Stearns broke through again. The second racket in the world did not give up, but already then she realized that the second round match might be more difficult than usual. Concerns intensified when the 62nd WTA ranked player won the tie-break 7-2.

In the second set, Sabalenka played completely differently. She practically gave no chance to her opponent, somehow suggesting that the first set was a failure. She broke Stearns twice and won confidently 6:2 in 36 minutes. It seemed that the third game would be closer to the second game than the first game. Meanwhile, set number three lasted slightly longer than the previous two combined.

From the beginning of the game, both players did not slow down. There was an exchange of games until Stearns broke Sabalenka in the ninth game. She was on the verge, because a few moments later the American had the match ball. She did not use them, which allowed the Belarusian to equalize. Finally, a tie-break was needed once again. In it, Sabalenka had several matchballs. She couldn't use many of them. This was only achieved with the fourth of them.

Aryna Sabalenka will play with Emma Raducanu

In the next round of the WTA tournament in Indian Wells, Aryna Sabalenka will play against Emma Raducanu, who won against Dayana Jastrembska in a draw.

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