Aryna Sabalenka gets rare 6-0, 6-0 win, advances at Australian Open

Aryna Sabalenka gets rare 6-0, 6-0 win, advances at Australian Open

MELBOURNE, Australia — Defending champion Aryna Sabalenka reached the fourth round of the Australian Open on Friday with a 6-0, 6-0 demolition of Lesia Tsurenko.

The second-seeded Belarusian, who won her first Grand Slam title here 12 months ago, needed just 52 minutes for victory at the Rod Laver Arena. She has dropped just six games in three rounds so far.

“Last year, Iga [Swiatek] won so many sets 6-0, and this is one of the goals, to try to get closer to her,” Sabalenka joked. “I’m just super happy with the level I’m playing so far. Hopefully I can just keep going like that or even better.”

The pair did not shake hands — as is the convention for Ukrainian players against opponents from Russia or Belarus — but Tsurenko congratulated Sabalenka verbally.

It was the first 6-0, 6-0 win of Sabalenka’s career. The last 6-0, 6-0 match in a major was Serena Williams‘ win over Carla Suarez Navarro in quarterfinal at the 2013 US Open, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.

It was the 11th 6-0, 6-0 win in a major.

Sabalenka will play Amanda Anisimova, who continued her comeback with a 7-5, 6-4 win over Paula Badosa. Anisimova, who took seven months out of the game last year for mental health reasons, hit 40 winners on her way to the fourth round.

“It’s quite unbelievable,” the American said. “For sure taking a step away from the game … gave me a new perspective. I’m trying to be in the present. I think in the past I was getting too caught up in the past and the future.”

Sabalenka said she expects a tough battle against Anisimova, who has won four of their five matches.

“She’s an incredible player, and I’m really happy to see her back,” Sabalenka said.

No. 4 Coco Gauff continues her quest for a second successive slam title when she plays another American, Alycia Parks, later Friday.

Men’s champion Novak Djokovic is in night action for the third match in a row, taking on Tomas Martin Etcheverry, while Alex De Minaur, Australia’s big hope, plays Flavio Cobolli of Italy.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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