Tennis: Sabalenka returns with win over Tomljanovic at Kremlin Cup

AP , Thursday 21 Oct 2021

In her first match since reaching the U.S. Open semifinals and subsequently testing positive for COVID-19, Aryna Sabalenka beat Ajla Tomljanovic 7-6 (2), 4-6, 6-1 on Wednesday to reach the quarterfinals of the Kremlin Cup.

Aryna Sabalenka
Belarus s Aryna Sabalenka hits a return to Ajla Tomljanovic of Australia during their women s singles second round match at the VTB Kremlin Cup tennis tournament in Moscow on October 20, 2021. (Photo: AFP)

The No. 2-ranked Sabalenka, who had a bye in the first round here, served 10 aces but also made 30 unforced errors.

``She's a tough opponent for the first match after a long time out,'' Sabalenka said. ``I calmed down a bit and started playing well.''

Sabalenka had not played since her three-set loss to Leylah Fernandez in the U.S. Open. The 23-year-old Belarusian had been scheduled to play in Indian Wells, California, but said she had tested positive for the coronavirus the day before play started.

She'll next play Ekaterina Alexandrova, who beat Anhelina Kalinina 6-4, 6-1.

Garbine Muguruza beat Tereza Martincova 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 to set up a quarterfinal match against either Anett Kontaveit or Andrea Petkovic. Fourth-seeded Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova beat Bernarda Pera 6-2, 7-5 in the second round.

In the men's competition, third-seeded Karen Khachanov reached the quarterfinals with a 3-6, 6-3 6-1 win over James Duckworth. Another Australian awaits Khachanov in the next round after John Millman progressed with a 6-1, 5-7, 6-4 win over qualifier Illya Marchenko.

Marin Cilic, a two-time champion at the Kremlin Cup, made it to the quarterfinals by beating Taylor Paul 7-5, 6-3.

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