Aryna Sabalenka takes wildcard into Charleston as she seeks to end losing streak



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Aryna Sabalenka takes wildcard into Charleston as she seeks to end losing streak

World No. 5 Aryna Sabalenka and rising Czech star Linda Fruhvirtova have been awarded wildcards into Charleston. Sabalenka, 23, is set to make her second appearance in Charleston. Sabalenka, a former world No. 2, made her debut on the clay courts of Charleston in 2019.

Back then, Sabalenka made the round-of-16 before losing to Monica Puig. On the other side, 16-year-old Fruhvirtova is set for her debut appearance in Charleston. Sabalenka didn't enjoy much success in Miami Sabalenka has had a rough start to the season and it continued in Miami as she suffered a shock defeat to Irina Begu in her opener at the tournament.

Begu, ranked at No. 70 in the world, upset top-seeded Sabalenka 6-4 6-4. It was Sabalenka's third consecutive defeat. "I think I was really consistent the whole match," Begu said. "I was serving well. I was playing for every ball, I was trying to hang in there and that was really important for me."

Sabalenka had the first break point of the match but missed out on converting it in the second game. After saving a break point in the second game, Begu earned the first break of the match in the seventh game. Begu then held on to her serve the rest of the set to win the opener.

Sabalenka had a good chance to make a good start to the second set but she blew four break points in the second game. Sabalenka paid the price for blowing four break points as Begu collected the first break of the set in the third game.

Begu then saved a break point in the fourth game to take a 3-1 lead. Begu missed out on two break points in the seventh game but it didn't change much as he held on to the break she earned in the third game to seal a straight-set win.

Sabalenka will now certainly be hoping to turn the page during the clay season and finally make some good results in 2022. It remains to be seen how far can Sabalenka go in Charleston next week.