US Open 2023: Sabalenka, Svitolina through to third round

Aryna Sabalenka, with her sights firmly set on a second Grand Slam title and the world number one ranking, powered into the U.S. Open third round.

Published : Sep 01, 2023 07:40 IST , NEW YORK - 3 MINS READ

Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus in action.
Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus in action. | Photo Credit: AP

Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus in action. | Photo Credit: AP

Aryna Sabalenka, with her sights firmly set on a second Grand Slam title and the world number one ranking, powered into the U.S. Open third round with a commanding 6-3, 6-2 win over Britain’s Jodie Burrage on Thursday.

The Australian Open champion converted three of her four break point opportunities and saved the two break points she faced during the 74-minute match in Louis Armstrong Stadium.

It was a much more confident display from Sabalenka compared to her error-prone New York opener during which she was forced to overcome early struggles on serve.

Sabalenka, who can claim the top ranking for the first time if she outlasts Iga Swiatek in the main draw, was more focused on serve as she overwhelmed world number 96 Burrage.

“I’m super happy with the level today, and super happy to get this win,” Sabalenka told reporters. “Yeah, I think I played really solid today and didn’t lose my focus not for a moment.”

The Belarusian second seed consolidated an early break for a 3-0 lead and while Burrage responded with holds to love on her next two service games Sabalenka leaned on her own serve to seal the opening set.

Sabalenka, who reached the U.S. Open semi-finals in each of the last two years, was barely tested in the second set where she hit a forehand winner to go up a double break before closing it out with a hold to love.

“I came on court with mentality just to put her speed with her, her game back on her, and let her play with that,” said Sabalenka.

“And, of course, the main focus was on my serve, so to be really solid on my serve, so, like, I can put some pressure on her serve.”

Up next for Sabalenka will be a clash against Frenchwoman Clara Burel, a 6-4, 6-2 winner over Czech 25th seed Karolina Pliskova.

Svitolina outplays Pavlyuchenkova

Ukrainian Elina Svitolina came from behind to beat Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia 5-7, 6-4, 6-4 in a high-quality match to reach the U.S. Open third round.

Svitolina sent down her 10th ace on match point to end the nearly three-hour clash to the delight of the supportive crowd at Louis Armstrong Stadium.

Svitolina returned in April following the birth of her daughter with fellow tennis player Gael Monfils and said she drew inspiration from her husband, who was playing his second-round match at the same time.

“I tried to get a little motivation from him,” she said in an on-court interview.

“I know he is playing out there and I needed to change my head a little bit because I was not playing my best. I had to bring different energy and I was thinking about him a little bit.”

Svitolina improved to 11-2 at Grand Slams this season after the 28-year-old made the Wimbledon semifinals and the French Open quarterfinals.

She has produced consistent performances despite the turmoil caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and did not shake the hand of her Russian opponent after the match.

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