Aryna Sabalenka powers into Australian Open quarterfinal

Aryna Sabalenka powers into Australian Open quarterfinal

/ 02:39 PM January 21, 2024

Aryna Sabalenka Australian Open

Belarus’ Aryna Sabalenka celebrates victory against USA’s Amanda Anisimova during their women’s singles match on day eight of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 21, 2024. (Photo by David GRAY / AFP)

Ruthless world number two Aryna Sabalenka moved a step closer to a successful title defense with another dominant display to make the Australian Open quarter-finals on Sunday.

The Belarusian was in total control against unseeded American Amanda Anisimova on Margaret Court Arena, blazing home 6-3, 6-2 in 70 minutes.

Sabalenka has dropped a scant 11 games in her four matches and with top seed Iga Swiatek out of the tournament, is the clear favorite to win a second Grand Slam.

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Should she do so, she will be the first woman to retain the title since compatriot Victoria Azarenka completed the feat in 2013.

“Super happy with the level and to get this win, she is a tough opponent,” said the 25-year-old, who has embraced her status as reigning champion in Melbourne.

“I’m getting stronger because I enjoy the atmosphere and I really want to stay here as long as I can till the very last day.”

Anisimova, who is on the comeback trail after an eight-month break for burnout and mental health issues, won her first four encounters against Sabalenka.

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But the Belarusian turned the tables the last time they met, in Rome in 2022, and with Anisimova now ranked 442 the writing was on the wall.

She had no answer to Sabalenka’s devastating power in the first set, which was briefly interrupted when it began to rain and the roof had to be closed.

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The second seeded Sabalenka scored a break in game two when Anisimova netted a forehand, with the American saving a break point in her next service game to prevent falling even further behind.

But she was being bossed by Sabalenka and it was only a matter of time before she wrapped up the set in 36 minutes.

It was a similar story in the second set, with Sabalenka taking advantage of unforced errors from Anisimova on her opening serve for the crucial break.

Another break put her 5-2 in front and she served out for the match.

Sabalenka enjoyed a breakthrough 2023.

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As well as winning the Australian Open she made the semi-finals in Paris and at Wimbledon before losing to Coco Gauff in the final of the US Open.

TAGS: Aryna Sabalenka, Australian Open

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