Victoria Azarenka and Aryna Sabalenka lose in Dubai

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Victoria Azarenka and Aryna Sabalenka are the players who lost on Day 3 of the Dubai Duty-Free Tennis Championships. Azarenka was playing well and won the first set over Elena Rybakina, but a left thigh injury that hampered her service motion caused her to retire when the match was tied at one set each. Rybakina was not as sharp as usual so it is unfortunate that Azarenka could not continue because she had a real opportunity to win the match.

Sabalenka has not played since the Australian Open, and the near-perfect play she enjoyed in Melbourne was not on her racquet today. She struggled on serve, and Donna Vekic played an incredible match coming from behind and forcing Sabalenka to hit more shots in the rallies leading to errors. Sabalenka failed to capitalize on service breaks on Vekic with only 3 of 14 break points converted and 32 unforced errors. Vekic converted 7 of 10 break points with only 20 unforced errors. Sabalenka was spotted grimacing and holding her lower back. It is unclear if that was injury-related or out of frustration. Vekic owns a 6-2 head-to-head record over Sabalenka.

Other ranked players advancing were Elina Svitolina, Jelena Ostapenko, Marketa Vondrousova, and Maria Sakkari.

Maria Sakkari defeated Emma Navarro in first tournament without a coach

Maria Sakkari made recent news by splitting with longtime coach Tom Hill and falling out of the Top 10 rankings for the first time in 2 1/2 years. Sakkari, in her postmatch interview after defeating Navarro, emphasized that she was happy to win. Her mom is traveling with her as well as her hitting partner.

Iga Swiatek, Coco Gauff, Karolina Pliskova, and Qinwen Zheng are among the players yet to play on Day 3. In addition to Gauff, Americans Sloane Stephens and Ashlyn Krueger will be action. Stephens faces Swiatek, and Krueger will play Pliskova.

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