The US’ Sofia Kenin lost her first WTA match since winning the Australian Open earlier this month as she went down 6-7 (2/7), 6-3, 6-3 to Elena Rybakina on Tuesday at the Dubai Championships.
World No.7 Kenin’s loss completed a hat trick of seeded upsets on the fourth day of action in the United Arab Emirates.
Titleholder Belinda Bencic was overhauled 1-6, 6-1, 6-1 by Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova while third seed and two-time tournament winner Elina Svitolina was hammered 6-2, 6-1 by qualifier Jennifer Brady.
Kenin played a pair of non-Tour Fed Cup matches immediately after her Melbourne win over Garbine Muguruza, who cut short Kim Clijsters’ comeback on Monday.
The 21-year-old went down in just over two hours to her 19th-ranked opponent who stood 192nd in the world a year ago.
Kenin got away to an early break but lost it and had to win the first set in a tiebreaker. Rybakina then dominated the next two sets to reach the second round where she will face Russian Katerina Siniakova.
Kazakh Rybakina won the Hobart title in January and reached the final last weekend in St Petersburg.
“I prepared with good practice. I didn’t expect that I would win. I tried to do my best,” she said.
“I wasn’t nervous [after flying here from Russia] at all because I knew it’s going to be tough.
“I didn’t think about that she just won the Australian Open, I know that now everyone can beat everyone.”