Australia’s number one female tennis player Ajla Tomljanovic has been beaten in straight sets by Irina-Camelia Begu at the WTA’s Charleston Open.
World No.39 Tomljanovic went into the round-of-32 contest on Wednesday night full of confidence after beating American Sophie Chang the day before, but was broken three times in the opening set before losing it 6-2.
Tomljanovic was down 1-0 in the second when rain halted play.
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But the 14th seed returned from the break and got back on level terms at 3-3 before going down 6-2 6-3 in 78 minutes to the Romanian, ranked 66 in the world.
Earlier in the day, top seed Aryna Sabalenka won for the first time since late February, outlasting American Alison Riske 7-6 (7-3) 6-4 in nearly two hours.
Sabalenka, of Belarus, had lost her opening matches at Indian Wells and Miami after falling to new No.1 Iga Swiatek at the quarter-final stage in Qatar six weeks ago.
Other seeded winners including No.3 Karolina Pliskova, Jessica Pegula (6), Madison Keys (9), Belinda Bencic (10) and No.12 Alize Cornet.
Czech Pliskova outlasted Ukraine’s Katarina Zavatska 5-7 7-5, 6-4. American Pegula eliminated Italian Jasmine Paolini 6-2 6-1, and American Keys beat Norway’s Ulrikke Eikeri 6-3 6-1.
Former champion Keys was supposed to play Tuesday night until bad weather postponed the start.
“I didn’t want things to kind of get off track after having that sort of delay,” Keys, who won this event in 2019, said.
“So I was just super focused in the first couple of games and felt like my level raised.”
Bencic, who won Olympic gold in Tokyo, defeated Linda Fruhvirtova of the Czech Republic 6-1 7-6 (8-6) while Frenchwoman Cornet ousted American Hailey Baptiste 6-3 6-2.