(Berlin) The second player in the world, Aryna Sabalenka, and the seventh, Coco Gauff, lost against Russian players in the second round of the Berlin Open on Thursday.

Sabalenka, the Australian Open champion, was beaten 6-2, 7-6 (2) by Veronika Kudermetova even though she played better after a poor start. For her part, Ekaterina Alexandrova crushed Gauff 6-4, 6-0.

“For me it’s important to play like I did today,” Kudermetova said. I always believe in my abilities. I know that I can play well and I still believe in it. »

Sabalenka and Gauff took part in their first tournament on grass following the French Open, played on clay. Their two opponents had reached the final of the Libema Grass Open in the Netherlands last week, and Alexandrova had triumphed.

Kudermetova will have an opportunity for revenge in the quarter-finals in Berlin.

Gauff took a 3-1 lead against Alexandrova, who however won 11 of the next 12 games.

“Maybe the score makes it look easy, but I think she played a good game,” said Alexandrova, who has won her last seven games. I had to stay focused during each point. I hope to continue this momentum. »

The Russian and Belarus players will return to Wimbledon next month. They were banned last year in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Czech Marketa Vondrousova also reached the quarter-finals on Thursday. His opponent Jule Niemeier withdrew after injuring his wrist in a fall. Vondrousova led 6-3, 6-5.

Vondrousova will face Maria Sakkari, who beat Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-2, 6-1 in 65 minutes.

Sakkari, Caroline Garcia and Petra Kvitova are the only seeds to have reached the quarter-finals.