Adelaide: No. 1 seed Elena Rybakina suffers shock loss, first defeat of 2024

Rybakina's Adelaide run ended with a quarterfinal defeat.

by Dzevad Mesic
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Adelaide: No. 1 seed Elena Rybakina suffers shock loss, first defeat of 2024
© Getty Images Sport - Mark Brake

Elena Rybakina has suffered her first defeat of the season after being stunned by world No. 21 Ekaterina Alexandrova at the Adelaide International. Rybakina, the top-seeded player in Adelaide, exited the tournament in the quarterfinal stage following a 3-6 5-7 loss to Alexandrova. 

Going into the match, Rybakina was regarded as the big favorite, considering her start to the season. But Rybakina - who won the Brisbane International last week - saw her six-match win streak come to an end against Alexandrova.

Following their latest match, Alexandrova, 29, now owns a 3-1 head-to-head against 24-year-old Rybakina. 

Elena Rybakina
Elena Rybakina© Getty Images Sport - Mark Brake
 

How Alexandrova upset Rybakina?

Rybakina, ranked at No. 3 in the world, got off to a pretty rough start to the match as Alexandrova claimed back-to-back breaks in the first and third games to open an early 4-0 lead. In the fifth game, Rybakina managed to finally get on the board but just after saving two break points. 

Still down by two breaks, Rybakina managed to get one break back in the fifth game and then serve out the following game to cut the deficit to 3-4. Just when it seemed Rybakina might create a big comeback in the first set, Alexandrova served out the eighth game for a 5-3 lead and broke the Kazakh again in the ninth game - the game in which the No. 1 seed was serving to stay in the opener.

Stunningly, the second set started just as the first set as Rybakina started the set by losing her serve in back-to-back games. After the opening five games of the second set, Alexandrova had a 5-0 lead.

Elena Rybakina
Elena Rybakina© Getty Images Sport - Mark Brake
 

Down by a set and two breaks, Rybakina refused to quit as she managed to get one break back in the seventh game and also served out the following game to reduce the deficit in the set to 3-5. In the ninth game, Rybakina had a chance to completely get back into the second set but she missed out on three consecutive break points before Alexandrova realized her first match point to complete a shock win over the Kazakh.

Rybakina now turns her focus to the Australian Open, where she meets Karolina Pliskova in the first round.

Elena Rybakina
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