Shenzhen: Defending champ Aryna Sabalenka out in second round


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Shenzhen: Defending champ Aryna Sabalenka out in second round

Both top-seeds crashed out back-to-back at the Shenzhen Open, on Tuesday. In their opening-round match, Russia's Anna Blinkova ousted Belinda Bencic of Switzerland 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 in an hour and 53 minutes in what was their first career meeting.

Blinkova converted five of the six break points she had on Bencic's serve. In the round-of-16, Blinkova will face Kazakh Zarina Diyas. Diyas defeated Chinese wildcard player Yingying Duan 6-3, 6-4 in 68 minutes. Bencic's upset perhaps had not even sunk in when the Czech Republic's Kristyna Pliskova ousted defending champion, Belarus' Aryna Sabalenka in the round-of-16.

The Belarusian who had looked confident in her opener against Margarita Gasparyan on Monday was not able to take her form forward against Pliskova. The southpaw won in straight sets 6-4, 6-4 in an hour and 29 minutes. In the quarter-finals, Pliskova will play Ukraine's, Kateryna Bondarenko.

Bondarenko upset the eighth-seeded Shuai Zhang of China in their second-round match, 7-6(8), 6-3 in 92 minutes. Third-seeded Belgian Elise Mertens needed an hour and 25 minutes to pocket a 6-4, 6-3 win over wildcard Xiyu Wang of China in their pre-quarter-final.

Mertens awaits the seventh-seeded Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan. Rybakina won 6-4, 6-4 over China's Yafan Wang in one hour and 27 minutes. The world no. 36 saved a handful of breakpoints while serving for the match in the 10th game of the second set before securing the win.