WTA Tour

Defending champ Sabalenka suffers shock Shenzhen loss

Aryna Sabalenka (Getty Images)
Aryna Sabalenka (Getty Images)

Shanghai - Reigning champion Aryna Sabalenka and top seed Belinda Bencic suffered shock defeats at the Shenzhen Open on Tuesday, dealing a setback to their Australian Open preparations.

World No 11 Sabalenka lost 6-4, 6-4 to the Czech left-hander Kristyna Pliskova as the Belarusian's title defence came to a juddering halt in the second round.

Earlier, on a day of upsets in southern China, world No 8 Bencic was defeated in her opening match of the year.

The Swiss was a surprise loser to the 58th-ranked Anna Blinkova, the Russian coming back from a set down to win 3-6, 6-3, 6-3.

"I didn't feel great in the beginning of the match," said Blinkova, 21, after claiming the biggest scalp of her career.

"I didn't feel the ball and my shots. I didn't play bad, but I managed to increase the level of my game slowly, step by step."

The Australian Open, the first Grand Slam of the season, begins in just under two weeks.

loading... Live
Rajasthan Royals 113/2
Kings XI Punjab 223/2
loading... Live
Manchester City 1
Leicester City 3
loading... Live
Rajasthan Royals 113/2
Kings XI Punjab 223/2
Voting Booth
What is your favourite sport to watch on TV?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Rugby
42% - 7833 votes
Cricket
11% - 1970 votes
Football
19% - 3585 votes
Athletics
3% - 464 votes
Boxing
1% - 172 votes
Cycling
2% - 442 votes
Golf
5% - 915 votes
Motorsport
8% - 1552 votes
Tennis
3% - 617 votes
Water sports
1% - 168 votes
American sports
1% - 217 votes
MMA / WWE / UFC
3% - 572 votes
Vote