Aryna Sabalenka preserved her unbeaten record this season but lost her second and third sets of 2023 in a comeback victory at the WTA Dubai event on Wednesday. 

The Australian Open  winner improved to a flawless 13-0 after a struggle with fellow Grand Slam winner and defending champion Jelena Ostapenko, who lost 2-6, 6-1, 6-1.

Second seed Sabalanka escaped into the quarter-finals as she defeated 2017 Roland Garros champion Ostapenko for the second time in as many meetings, with their previous played four years ago in China..

The seed needed less than an hour and three-quarters to go through over the Latvian coached by former Wimbledon winner Marion Bartoli.

Sabalenka hit five aces, kept her double-faults to just two and broke her opponent six times.

“In the first set, she played unbelievable tennis and I couldn’t do anything,” Sabalenka said.

“Somehow I turned around this match and started playing really incredible tennis.

“She plays really fast, deep balls, and I tried to stay super low, stay focused, and try to put (in) more balls than she did. 

“I’m so happy that I did it.”

Sabalenka ended with 25 winners to 17 unforced errors; after dropping serve three times in the opening set, she was never again threatened.