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Sabalenka maintains composure to defeat Badosa

MIAMI: World number two Aryna Sabalenka made a composed return to the court following the recent passing of her former boyfriend, defeating Spain’s Paula Badosa 6-4 6-3 on Friday. Despite enduring six hours of rain delays, Sabalenka, dressed in all black, maintained her focus throughout the match, a sentiment shared by her close friend Badosa.

In a statement on Wednesday, Sabalenka expressed her heartbreak over the death of her former boyfriend, Konstantin Koltsov, who reportedly died by suicide at the age of 42. Breaking early in the first set, Sabalenka seized control of the match and continued her dominance with a powerful display, ultimately sealing victory in one hour and 22 minutes.

Following the match, the two players embraced at the net before leaving without participating in an on-court interview. Sabalenka had requested to be excused from media duties at the tournament. Badosa praised Sabalenka’s strength and professionalism, expressing her expectation of a solid performance from her friend.

American Coco Gauff, the third seed, also secured a comfortable victory against Argentine Nadia Podoroska, winning 6-1 6-2. Meanwhile, in the ATP event, Czech player Tomas Machac claimed his first Top 10 victory, upsetting fifth-seeded Russian Andrey Rublev 6-4, 6-4.

Rain interrupted the matches later in the evening, with the men’s world number three Jannik Sinner’s match against Andrea Vavassori suspended at 3-2 in favor of Sinner.- AFP

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