Aryna Sabalenka suffered her first loss of the season on Thursday as the Australian Open winner went down 0-6, 7-6 (2), 6-1 in the Dubai quarter-finals to fellow Grand Slam champion Barbora Krejcikova.
Sabalena was hunting her 14th win of the season and swept the first seven games before being methodically reeled in by her Czech opponent.
The second seed had lost only two sets in 2023 and also held the title form last month in Adelaide.
Sabalenka claimed the first seven games before 2021 Roland Garros winner Krejcikova got on the scoreboard 45 minutes into the match.
From then on, the Sabalenka mistakes mounted and her game all but exited in the deciding third set as she lost in two hours.
“I was just fighting,” the winner said. “There’s not really much you can change because she serves well, she hits really hard.
“I was just trying to get to her pace, just trying to be a little more aggressive because otherwise, it’s difficult to do anything else.”
The turnaround began as the Czech trailed a set and 3-1.
“(I told myself) ‘Just go for it, just fight, just don’t leave without a fight.’
” I felt that I’m going to get some chances, in every single match you get a chance.
“I just kept going, keep trying to play my game, wait for the chance, then just try to convert it.”
Krejikova will take on third seed Jessica Pegula on Friday after Karolina Muchova withdrew with an abdominal injury.
Sabalenka now stands 13-1 on the season after her loss to the 2021 finalist here.
Krejcikova swept the last five games of the match to clinch victory, her 10th at the tournament against two defeats.
Main photo:- Barbora Kejcikova stopped Sabalenka’s win streak – by Karl Winter International Sports Fotos Ltd