Seed number 5, the Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka gave another sign of strength at the start of the Australian Open. After giving up just five games in her debut, this Thursday she was even better and only lost four games in the victory in straight sets over the North American Shelby Rogers, closing the game with the final score of 6/3 and 6/ 1.
Quite aggressive, the Belarusian scored 32 winning balls, almost double the 17 of Rogers, and still committed one unforced error less (18 to 19). Sabalenka’s performance with the serve was reasonable, winning 69% of the disputed points and only taking one break, but the American rival was much lower, with 47% success, 11 break-points against and five breaks.
After a firm victory, Sabalenka will have a bigger test ahead of her with the Belgian Elise Mertens, who asserted her condition of 26th favorite and left the North American Lauren Davis on the way, scoring partials of 6/4 and 6/3. It will be the ninth time that the two will meet, with a large advantage for the Belarusian, who won six and lost two.
This Thursday’s journey in Melbourne began full of North Americans on the court. In addition to Rogers and Davis, also in action were Katie Volynets and guest Taylor Townsend, both facing Russian rivals.
Townsend even took the lead and won the first set against Ekaterina Alexandrova, but took the upset of the 19th seed and said goodbye to the tournament in the second round, falling with partials of 1/6, 6/2 and 6/3. In turn, Volynets ignored the favoritism of Veronika Kudermetova, the ninth best ranked for the title, and overcame the Russian by 2 sets to 1, with a final score of 6/4, 2/6 and 6/2.
In the third round, the surprising North American will face the winner of the duel between the Chinese Shuai Zhang and the Croatian Petra Martic. Alexandrova also does not yet know who she will face in the dispute for a place in the round of 16, waiting for the Estonian Anett Kontaveit or the Egyptian Mayar Sherif.