World No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka has admitted that she is struggling with her game but is hoping to find some rhythm and consistency this week in Dubai. Sabalenka got off to a rough start to the season, losing her openers in Adelaide 1 and Adelaide 2.
Sabalenka managed to make the Australian Open round-of-16 but she was far from her best as she was down by a set in each of her first three matches at Melbourne Park. “After the beginning of the season I would say that the goal is to find the consistency in my game, just find the rhythm back.
I don’t know, right now every match for me is a battle. Tough to say,” Sabalenka said, per Arab News.
Sabalenka beaten by Kaia Kanepi
Sabalenka's Australian Open campaign came to an end in the round-of-16 after Kanepi handed her a 5-7 6-2 7-6 (7) loss.
After the match, Kanepi admitted she got tight and her hand started shaking when she was about to close out the match. "I was really tight," Kanepi said afterwards, per the WTA website. "My hand was shaking when I started serving.
I didn't make any first serves in, and that added to the pressure. "First, I tried to hit [the serve] a bit harder with more spin. Then it didn't go in. Then I started to hit a bit slower. I tried different things to think about than the serve, but I don't think any of them helped.
"I almost didn't [regroup]. I guess I was just lucky at the end. So close." Sabalenka is seeded at No. 1 in Dubai this week but tough to say she is among the top favorites to win the title. Sabalenka will start her Dubai campaign against qualifier Marta Kostyuk. Sabalenka is set to make her fifth Dubai appearance. Sabalenka made back-to-back Dubai quarterfinals in 2020 and 2021.