Donna Vekic upsets Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina at the Berlin Open

Kazakhstan's Elena Rybakina plays a shot against Linda Noskova of the Czech Republic during their second round match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, Thursday, June 1, 2023. (AP Photo/Aurelien Morissard)

BERLIN (AP) — Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina’s preparations for the grass-court Grand Slam hit a snag Wednesday when she lost to Donna Vekic 6-7 (1), 6-3, 6-4 in the second round of the Berlin Open.

Vekic faced only two break points and saved them both. It was Rybakina’s second match, after beating qualifier Polina Kudermetova on Tuesday, since withdrawing ahead of her third-round match at the French Open when a virus left her with breathing difficulties.

“I stayed in the moment. I was just trying to play the next point, the next game,” Vekic said. “I was like `Just stay with her. The chances will come.”’

Vekic’s next opponent will be Elina Avanesyan, who lost in qualifying but then got a main-draw spot as a lucky after another player withdrew.

Caroline Garcia beat qualifier Jaimee Fourlis 6-3, 6-2 and will next play former Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova.

“The best practice is to play matches so obviously I feel more confident in my movement,” the third-seeded Garcia said of adapting to grass after clay tournaments. “Today, I had a good time on Center Court. I really enjoyed it.”

Kvitova eased to a 6-1, 6-1 win over Nadia Podoroska in their second-round match which lasted 49 minutes.

Maria Sakkari beat Alize Cornet 6-4, 6-2 in the first round after a health issue affected her French opponent. Cornet was trailing 4-1 in the first set when she complained of feeling unwell and had her blood pressure checked before continuing.

Sakkari will next face Aliaksandra Sasnovich, who upset Victoria Azarenka 6-4, 6-4 in a match that had been suspended overnight.

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