INDIAN WELLS: Aryna Sabalenka, the champion of the Australian Open, effortlessly advanced to the third round of the Indian Wells WTA and ATP Masters 1000 by defeating Evgeniya Rodina with a score of 6-2, 6-0 on Friday.
Sabalenka, playing just her second tournament since she lifted her first Grand Slam trophy in Melbourne in January, needed just 65 minutes to dispatch Rodina, who was playing her eighth match since returning to competition at the US Open last year after taking three years away on a second maternity leave.
Sabalenka admitted she didn’t even remember that she had played Rodina before, in Tashkent in 2017, but she was pleased to get through with little trouble in a tournament where she has never made it past the round of 16.
Russia’s Rodina, who ousted France’s Alize Cornet in the first round, offered little resistance. Sabalenka converted five of her 12 break chances and saved all four break points she faced.
Sabalenka, still barred from playing under her native flag of Belarus because of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, next faces Ukraine’s Lesia Tsurenko, who beat 29th-seeded Croatian Donna Vekic 2-6, 6-2. 6-2.
Tsurenko has won four WTA titles and reached the final of the Thailand Open in early February.