Mon, 30 Jan 2023

Melbourne [Australia], January 23 (ANI): Aryna Sabalenka defeated Belinda Bencic on Monday at Rod Laver Arena to reach her first Australian Open quarterfinal.

Sabalenka produced a stunning performance to defeat No.12 seed Bencic 7-5, 6-2 in a match that lasted 87 minutes, coming back from a break down in the first set.

The first set was characterised by powerful groundstrokes: a great forehand down the line opened up Bencic's early break for a 2-1 lead, and she eventually won 4-2. However, Sabalenka recovered the break for a 4-4 tie with a strong crosscourt backhand.

As the opening set went on, Sabalenka kept the momentum going, holding serve at love for the first time to get to 6-5. Following a successful forehand return in the following game, Sabalenka was awarded a double set point, and Bencic double-faulted to hand the No. 5 seed the opening set.

With a break for 3-1 in the second set, Sabalenka finally established control with her power game, and she cruised to victory after that. Sabalenka won the match with 32 points, far more than Bencic's 14, and she was scheduled to play Donna Vekic in the following game.

"Super happy with the win and the level today on court. She's unbelievable player. I didn't start well in the beginning, but was able to come back in the match. Super happy with the mindset on court," quoted Sabalenka as saying.

"I want to believe that the way I'm working right now, the way I'm on the court right now, this is the new beginning, and this is the next step. I really want to believe that it's going to really help me," Sabalenka said.

Elsewhere at the Margaret Court Arena, former Top 20 player Donna Vekic of Croatia rolled into the second Grand Slam quarter-final of her career with a 6-2, 1-6, 6-3 victory against Czech teen Linda Fruhvirtova after two hours and 7 minutes of battle.

Vekic blasted a backhand winner down the line to create a break opportunity at 4-3 in the third set, and Fruhvirtova double-faulted to give away her service. Vekic then came up with a few precise and potent deliveries to serve out the match. (ANI)

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