WATCH: Aryna Sabalenka smashes racket as her emotional Miami Open journey is ended by Anhelina Kalinina

Shahida Jacobs
Aryna Sabalenka leaves the court
Aryna Sabalenka, of Belarus, walks off the court

Aryna Sabalenka’s Miami Open campaign came to a frustrating end in the third round and she went out with a bang as she smashed her racket after being beaten by Anhelina Kalinina.

The WTA 1000 event has been a haunting one for Sabalenka as her former partner and former NHL ice hockey player Konstantin Koltsov, 42, died in an apparent suicide in Miami during the lead-up to the tournament.

The reigning Australian Open champion issued a short statement to express her “heart is broken” but she courageously vowed to continue playing and she went on to beat her good friend Paula Badosa in the second round on Thursday.

But her run came to an end on Saturday as she suffered a 6-4, 1-6, 6-1 defeat at the hands of Kalinina.

And the world No 2 took her frustrations out on her racket at the end of the match as she smashed it three times on the ground after the final point of the match.

The defeat dealt a big blow to Sabalenka’s hopes of overhauling Iga Swiatek at No 1 in the WTA Rankings in the near future with the Pole already 2,750 points ahead with more points on offer as she remains alive in the tournament.

For Kalinina, it was one of the biggest wins of the world No 36’s career and she enjoyed the moment.

“It’s always tough to play on big stages against these top players,” the Ukrainian, who defeated former world No 1 Caroline Wozniacki in the first round, said. “Today was really tough with nerves but I managed in the tough moments to deal with it.

“So I’m a little bit proud of myself today.”

But the draw doesn’t get easier for Kalinina as she will face eighth seed Maria Sakkari in the fourth round after the Greek defeated Dayana Yastremska 7-5, 6-4.

Sixth seed Ons Jabeur’s struggles also continued as the Tunisian was stunned by Elina Avanesyan as the 21-year-old claimed a 6-1, 4-6, 6-3.

Two-time Wimbledon runner-up Jabeur is now 2-5 for the 2024 season and she also struggled with a knee injury during the match against Avanesyan as she required a medical timeout.

World No 3 Elena Rybakina also came close to being dumped out as she needed three sets to see off qualifier Taylor Townsend as the former Wimbledon winner came away with a 6-3, 6-7 (3-7), 6-4 victory.

READ MORE: Jimmy Connors defends Aryna Sabalenka as he weighs in on her Miami Open participation