Aryna Sabalenka stumbled in her first match in nearly a month since winning the Australian Open as she crashed out on Tuesday at the WTA Dubai 1000 event.

The world No. 2 and second seed was ambushed by dangerous longtime opponent Donna Vekic, with the Croat posting a 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-0 second-round upset.

Sabalenka has not played since defeating Zheng Quinwen for the Melbourne Grand Slam title; Vekic dominates their career series 6-2, with Sabalenka winning their last meeting in the 2023 Australian Open quarter-finals.

“It was a tough match, she’s a great player and I had to bring my best tennis,” the 27-year-old winner said.

Vekic, who swept 12 of the last 13 games in her fightback, came from a set and a break down in a victory which lasted for almost two and a half hours.

Main photo:- Aryna Sabalenka with the 2024 Australian Open Trophy by ISF Ltd