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Tennis: moving hug for Sabalenka back and which is essential after the death of her ex-companion

Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka (world No.

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Tennis: moving hug for Sabalenka back and which is essential after the death of her ex-companion

Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka (world No.2) dominated Spaniard Paula Badosa for her entry into the second round of the WTA 1000 tournament in Miami (Florida, United States) on Friday, after the death of her ex-companion earlier this week.

After six hours of waiting due to rain, Sabalenka (25), winner of the Australian Open in January, appeared on the court dressed in black, just like her opponent and friend Paula Badosa.

Sabalenka declared on Wednesday that she was “heartbroken” by the death on Monday of her ex-companion, former Belarusian ice hockey player Konstantin Koltsov (42), “probably by suicide”, according to the police.

She asked the Miami tournament not to be subject to the usual media obligations during the competition.

After a cautious start, the world No.2 broke at 4-3 in the first set to never slow down again, and won 6-4, 6-3 in 1 hour and 22 minutes. The two players hugged each other over the net at the end of the match.

“She is a very strong woman, a very strong personality. It shows on the court... I know her off the court and that doesn’t surprise me,” said Badosa, about the way Sabalenka was able to concentrate on tennis.

“I knew she would play very well, or at least as well as usual. I told her that I wish her the best, we will see if she manages to go far in the tournament.

The American Coco Gauff (3rd in the world), for her entry into the 2nd round like all the top seeds, had no trouble getting rid of the Argentine Nadia Podoroska (6-1, 6-2) .

In the men's draw, the Czech Tomas Machac (60th) created a surprise with his first success against a member of the Top 10, namely the Russian Andrey Rublev (6th in the world) 6-4, 6-4.

The rain made its appearance again in the evening, forcing the organizers to interrupt several meetings, others not even being able to start.

Italian world No.3 Jannik Sinner leads 3-2 in the first set against his compatriot Andrea Vavassori and will have to resume the game on Saturday.

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