MATCH POINT: Rebecca Peterson (SWE) defeats Aryna Sabalenka (BEL) in 2022 Adelaide.


World No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka took a wildcard into Adelaide in search of more matches, but her campaign was once again cut short after falling to qualifier Rebecca Peterson in her Adelaide International 2 opener.

The top seed at the WTA 250 event, Sabalenka finished the match in tears as she struggled with her serve against Peterson. She tallied 21 double faults and went for the underarm serve on multiple occasions in the 5-7, 6-1, 7-5 defeat.

"It was the weirdest match I've ever played,” Peterson admitted afterwards. “It was tough staying in there, I know she was struggling a lot… To be in my own world, it was really difficult."

Sabalenka will go into the Australian Open still seeking her first victory of the new season. Last week in Adelaide, Sabalenka was stunned by Kaja Juvan in straight sets, hitting 18 double faults along the way.

The World No. 2 is still searching for her first win of the 2022 season.

The World No. 2 is still searching for her first win of the 2022 season.

Her woes continued in Adelaide, where she faced 13 break points throughout her opening match. Peterson kept the pressure on throughout, creating break opportunities in all but a few of Sabalenka’s service games (12/16).

Still fighting for the match deep in the third set, Sabalenka finally closed a game to love for the first time and sealed it with an underarm ace, one of eight aces she struck in the match. Overcome with emotion, Sabalenka spent the time in between games wiping away tears at her towel and looking visibly upset—prompting umpire Julie Kjendlie to ask if she was alright. Sabalenka replied, “Nothing is wrong. It’s a technical problem. I cannot serve better.”

Peterson closed out the biggest win of her career and her first over a Top 5 player, and she’ll next face Madison Brengle. The Swede’s win also means the Adelaide event will be without its top two seeds, after Madison Keys toppled Elina Svitolina on Monday.