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Sabalenka keeps emotion in check as she beats Badosa

Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus kept her emotions in check in an opening victory at the Miami Open days after the death of her former boyfriend (Megan Briggs)
Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus kept her emotions in check in an opening victory at the Miami Open days after the death of her former boyfriend (Megan Briggs)

World number two Aryna Sabalenka returned to the court for the first time since the death of her former boyfriend earlier this week and kept her emotions in check as she beat Spain's Paula Badosa 6-4 6-3 on Friday.

After six hours of rain delays, Sabalenka walked onto the court wearing an all-black outfit, a choice matched by her close friend Badosa.

Sabalenka on Wednesday said she was "heartbroken" by the death of former boyfriend Konstantin Koltsov in a statement on Wednesday, where she revealed they had not been a couple at the time of his death.

Koltsov died on Monday with Miami police saying he had jumped from the balcony of a room at an resort in an "apparent suicide."

Sabalenka made a slow start to the match but broke to go 4-3 up in the first set and never looked back from that point on.

The Belarusian then broke in the third game of the second set with a superb cross court forehand winner and showed too much power for her Spanish opponent as she wrapped up the win in one hour 22 minutes.

The two players embraced at the net before leaving the court without an on-court interview. Sabalenka has asked the WTA to be excused media duties at the tournament.

Koltsov, a former NHL ice hockey player and coach, was 42-years-old.

American Coco Gauff, the third seed, had little trouble in her test against Argentine Nadia Podoroska winning 6-1 6-2 in one hour 16.

Later on Friday, top-ranked Iga Swiatek is scheduled to face Italy's Camila Giorgi while Naomi Osaka of Japan takes on Ukraine's Elina Svitolina in later matches.

Men's world number three Jannik Sinner of Italy is scheduled to face compatriot Andrea Vavassori while fourth-ranked Daniil Medvedev of Russia takes on Hungarian Marton Fucsovics.

Further rain and possibly storms are forecast in the Miami area for later on Friday however.

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