Sabalenka, Bencic, Garcia Reach Australian Open R16; Swiatek v Rybakina Today

by Staff | January 21st, 2023, 1:05 pm
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Women’s favorites all had easy days Saturday at the Australian Open. With just a week before the final, the top seeds were getting into gear for a week two push. And right now Aryna Sabalenka looks well in form.

The big-hitting Belarussian rolled past Elise Mertens 6-2, 6-3 hitting just four double faults while connecting 32 winners. Sabalenka has made the quarters in Australian the last two years but not the semifinals.

“I need to be a little bit boring on court. I mean, it’s still about a lot of positive emotions for me, but I’m trying to stay away from negative and just fight for every point,” assessed the world No. 5.

“I think, like, there was few moments when I was about to throw my racquet or scream something, and because I hold myself really strong in moments, after that right now I feel like it’s a little bit more natural.”

Sabalenka will now meet another player who won a title in Adelaide earlier this month in Belinda Bencic. The Swiss overcame a late hiccup to defeat Camila Giorgi 6-2, 7-5.

Both Bencic and Sabalenka have won their last seven matches.

“I’m happy with the win,” Bencic said. “Of course she a very explosive player. She has a lot of power when she hits the ball. It’s not easy, of course, to play against her, but I think I was mentally ready for that.”

In the evening, the hot-handed Caroline Garcia came from a set down to deny Laura Siegemund 1-6, 6-3, 6-3. Shaui Zhang will be next for her. The Chinese star knock out American qualifier Katie Volynets.

Two Czechs moved on as 17-year-old Linda Fruhvirtova fended off countrywoman Marketa Vondrousova in three sets. Karolina Pliskova also advanced.

Magda Linette and Donna Vekic were also winners.

Today for the start of the fourth round, Iga Swiatek will take on Elena Rybakina in a good battle of the last two Grand Slam champions.

Americans Coco Gauff and Jessica Pegula will take on former French winners winners in Jelena Ostapenko and Barbora Krejcikova. And the lone former champion on the women’s side Victoria Azarenka will battle Zhu Lin.

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