Elena Rybakina at centre of ‘disrespectful’ drama in US Open loss

Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina has become the latest high-profile star to crash out of the US Open in the first round after a 6-4 6-4 loss to Clara Burel on Tuesday.

Rybakina was only seeded 25th at the New York grand slam due to the fact she didn’t receive any rankings points for winning Wimbledon.

The ATP and WTA made the staggering decision to strip Wimbledon of rankings points due to its unprecedented ban on Russian and Belarusian players over the invasion of Ukraine.

Rybakina was one of the hardest players hit by the lack of rankings points, and her troubles only worsened on Tuesday.

The 23-year-old, who was born in Russia but represents Kazakhstan, said before this tournament she thought it was unfair, adding she didn’t even feel like a Wimbledon champion.

She squandered six of the seven break points she earned in the first set on Tuesday as she racked up 19 unforced errors.

A former junior World No.1, Burel capitalised on her chances to break in the fifth and ninth games.

Burel broke the Russian-born Rybakina in the opening game of the second set and won more than three-quarters of her first-serve points under hot and humid conditions on day two of the hard-court major.

Clara Burel, pictured here in action against Elena Rybakina in their first-round clash at the US Open.
Clara Burel in action against Elena Rybakina in their first-round clash at the US Open. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

She thrust her fists in the air after clinching victory with a backhand winner.

Due to her seeding, Rybakina wasn’t given any sort of top billing by US Open organisers and was shunted to Court 12 for the match.

Tennis writer Jose Morgado tweeted: “Feel for Rybakina. Won the biggest tournament in the world, didn’t get rewarded in terms of ranking, and played in the parking lot of every tournament since.

“Struggling. But the current Wimbledon champ playing her first match of the next Slam on Court 12 doesn’t feel right.”

Others described the scheduling as ‘disrespectful’ and ‘disgraceful’ towards the Wimbledon champion.

Iga Swiatek eases into second round at US Open

There were no such troubles for World No.1 Iga Swiatek, who cruised through her first test at the US Open by swatting away Jasmine Paolini 6-3 6-0.

The Polish star is chasing a third grand slam title, and her second of the year after triumphing at the French Open in June.

Having held top spot in the rankings since April in the wake of Ash Barty’s retirement, the 21-year-old is chasing her best result yet in New York, having reached the fourth round last year.

At Louis Armstrong Stadium on Tuesday she made an impressive start to her quest, with a near-flawless performance that saw her break Paolini seven times.

Iga Swiatek, pictured here in action against Jasmine Paolini at the US Open.
Iga Swiatek in action against Jasmine Paolini at the US Open. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Swiatek is likely to face a more difficult challenge in the next round when she runs into 2017 champion Sloane Stephens, who battled back to see off Belgium’s Greet Minnen 1-6 6-3 6-3.

“I was just fighting as hard as I can and with your guys support, you pushed me through, so thank you,” she said.

“Happy to get another win at my favourite tournament.”

Joining Swiatek in the second round are American eighth seed Jessica Pegula, who beat Viktorija Golubic 6-2 6-2, and sixth-seeded Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka after her 6-1 6-3 win over Catherine Harrison.

Garbine Muguruza, seeded ninth, beat Clara Tauson 6-3 7-6 (7-5).

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