Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin was eliminated from the season-opening Abu Dhabi Open in the quarterfinals on Monday after a three-set loss to Maria Sakkari.
Kenin won the opening set but faded as ninth-seeded Sakkari won 2-6, 6-2, 6-0. It was only Kenin’s third loss in 14 career tour quarterfinal matches.
Greek player hit nine aces against none for Kenin and 23 winners to the American’s eight.
Sakkari’s next opponent is fourth-seeded Aryna Sabalenka, who made it 13 tour wins in a row by beating Elena Rybakina 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 for a place in the semifinals.
Sabalenka finished last season with titles at the Ostrava and Linz indoor tournaments and has started 2021 with four wins in Abu Dhabi. Sabalenka has won three of the four matches she has played against Sakkari, all of them on hard courts.—Agencies