French Open 2021: Highest remaining seed Aryna Sabalenka bows out in the third round

On the damp and very slow Clay, third seed Aryna Sabalenka couldn't get her game in place as she was knocked out of the third round by Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Aryna Sabalenka
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Aryna Sabalenka

Third seed Aryna Sabalenka was the latest Top 10 player from the bottom half to bow out of the 2021 French Open. The World No.4 Belarusian got beaten by 31st seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia in three sets 4-6,6-2,0-6 on Court Simonne Mathieu.

With Sabalenka out of the competition, Serena Williams is the only top 10 player left in the bottom half of the women’s section. The American veteran will be seen in action later today against Danielle Rose Collins.

Sabaelnka was quick off the blocks and was looking in very goof shape. She was serving big upfront and also broke Pavlyuchenkova in the second game to take a strong 3-0 lead. But since then, she completely bottled the set, making too many errors. The Russian then won as many as 5 consecutive games, breaking Sabalenka twice to take a 5-3 lead. She eventually served out the set 6-4 in 43 minutes.

After losing the first set, the third seed bounced back in the second. Both players held serve early on and were very disciplined with their movement. They drew level at 2-2 before Sabalenka went ‘beast’ mode and won four consecutive games to win the second set 6-2 and level things up.

Pavlyuchenkova bagels Sabalenka to win the match

Aryna Sabalenka
Aryna Sabalenka

It was looking like Sabalenka was going to run away with the set after gaining momentum but Pavlyuchenkova had different plans. She dominated the entire set and shook the No.3 seed so much that she was visibly frustrated with herself. She took the very first game, breaking the Belarusian’s serve and consolidated it early on.

Sabalenka was very frustrated with herself, screaming and kicking her racket due to a queue of unforced errors. She just couldn’t get her game in place and was left a sitting duck, as Pavlyuchenkova bageled her to win the match and enter into the Round of 16. After Sabalenka’s exit, Sofia Kenin is the highest seeded player in the women’s draw.

Also read: ‘I don’t think I could go past Novak Djokovic,’ Roger Federer admits he can’t beat the World No.1 in Paris