Arnya Sabalenka advances to Australian Open second round with ease

League: Tennis

Posted on: 14 Jan, 2024 at 04:25 PM

Credit: Mike Frey-USA TODAY Sports

Reigning champion and second seed Aryna Sabalenka advanced to the second round of the Australian Open after making quick work of German qualifier Ella Seidel with a 6-0, 6-1 win in Melbourne on Sunday.

In a match starting just before midnight local time, Sabalenka needed only 53 minutes to finish her opening round.

"I'm super happy to be back in Melbourne," Sabalenka, of Belarus, said. "Last time I had incredible memories from here, so great to be back and incredible atmosphere. I know you guys were cheering for her but thank you so much for staying this late and supporting us."

Next up for Sabalenka will be Brenda Fruhvirtova, a 16-year-old Czech, who ousted Romanian Ana Bogdan 2-6, 6-4, 6-3. Fruhvirtova is the youngest woman to win a singles match in the main draw at the Australian Open since Coco Gauff in 2020.

"It will be a great experience no matter who wins," Fruhvirtova said of her upcoming match against Sabalenka, the No. 2 player in the world, "But I'm really looking forward to the next round, and hopefully I will get some big court or bigger one than today."

Another 16-year-old, Alina Korneeva of Russia, also advanced to the second round. It was the first time since 2007 that two 16-year-olds reached the second round of a grand slam tournament.

One of them then was Caroline Wozniacki, who is continuing her comeback from retirement and the birth of her two children.

Wozniacki, from Denmark, moved to the second round after No.20 seed Magda Linette of Poland retired because of injury. She was leading 6-2, 2-0 when Linette called it a day 55 minutes into the match.

"It's definitely not the way you want to win," Wozniacki said. "You want to see your opponent be healthy.

"But I saw she tweaked her leg at one point there late in the first set. I wasn't sure what was happening. Then I just tried to keep my head cool."

Linette reached the semifinals in Melbourne in 2023.

Also advancing Sunday were No. 8 Maria Sakkari of Greece and Czech Barbora Krejcikova, the No. 9 seed, who needed three sets to defeat Japanese wild card Mai Hontama 2-6, 6-4, 6-3.

Amanda Anisimova, returning to the tour after seven months off last year, citing burnout, upset No. 13 seed Liudmila Samsonova of Russia 6-3, 6-4 in 84 minutes. She fought back from a 4-1 deficit in the second set, winning five straight games to capture the match.

It was the 17th Top 20 win of her career.

"Of course, I'm happy with the win, but I expect a lot out of myself," Anisimova said. "Win or lose, I don't think it would really matter to me. If I lost, then I would just go back to training.

"I'm just here for the journey right now and seeing how much I can progress. I think I would take it with whatever outcome I would get. But I am happy with the wins, and I really hope that I can build on from it."

-- Field Level Media