Tennis: World number two Sabalenka powers into French Open second week

AFP , Friday 2 Jun 2023

Aryna Sabalenka booked her place in the French Open last 16 for the first time with a straight-sets win over Russian Kamilla Rakhimova at Roland Garros on Friday.

Belarus Aryna Sabalenka plays a backhand return to Russia s Kamilla Rakhimova during their women s singles match on day six of the Roland-Garros Open tennis tournament at the Court Philippe-Chatrier in Paris on June 2, 2023. Photo: AFP


The Belarusian second seed is yet to drop a set in the tournament after a comfortable 6-2, 6-2 win against the world number 82.

Sabalenka is one of the favourites for the championship after a fine start to the year, including securing her maiden Grand Slam triumph in Melbourne and lifting the Madrid Open title.

"Every tournament is a different tournament, Roland Garros is completely different to Australia, a different surface," she said.

"It's really good to have a Grand Slam in your pocket -- it gives you so much confidence."

Sabalenka will face either former US Open champion Sloane Stephens or Kazakhstan's Yulia Putintseva in the fourth round.

The first four games were shared before Australian Open champion Sabalenka reeled off the next seven in succession to take total control of the match.

She ended a run of three consecutive third-round exits on the Paris clay after only 67 minutes.

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