World No 2 Aryna Sabalenka suffered an early shock at the Italian Open on Thursday as the in-form Belarusian crashed to a 7-6(4) 6-2 defeat by American Sofia Kenin in a high-octane second-round match.
Sabalenka wobbled on serve early in her first match since claiming the Madrid title last week and squandered three chances to break Kenin before finding her groove to level a pulsating opening set at 4-4.
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Kenin, once ranked world No 4 but now down to 134th due to illness and injuries, heaped pressure on the reigning Melbourne Park champion in the second set for a 4-2 lead and held firm for a famous victory.