The defending champion Aryna Sabalenka raced into the third round of the Australian Open.The Belarusian toppled the 16-year-old Brenda Fruhvritova 6-3, 6-2 in 67 minutes at Rod Laver Arena, playing well on serve and return and sailing over the top.
The young Czech passed the qualifying stage for the second straight year in Melbourne, notching her first Major victory and setting the clash against the defending champion. However, Sabalenka proved too strong, overpowering a teenager and praising her after the duel.
Aryna wished to have Brenda’s level at 16, predicting a bright future for the upcoming star if she keeps working hard. Two rivals had difficulties finding the first serve. It was hardly an obstacle for Sabalenka, who played against two break points and lost serve once.
Equipped with no powerful serve, Fruhvirtova struggled to follow that pace. The young gun dropped 44% of the points in her games and lost serve four times from six opportunities given to her rival.
Aryna Sabalenka praised Brenda Fruhvirtova after their Australian Open clash.
Aryna fired 30 winners and 22 unforced errors, taming her strokes nicely and keeping Brenda at seven direct points.
World no. 2 forged the advantage in the shortest and mid-range rallies, feeling comfortable while attacking and controlling the scoreboard. Fruhvirtova experienced a break in the encounter’s second game. However, she battled back and secured a break in game three, reducing the deficit to 2-1 and presenting her skills.
Sabalenka served well in the rest of the clash, mounting the pressure on the other side. Brenda stayed competitive in the following two service games, and it all changed at 3-4.
Sabalenka grabbed a break for a 5-3 lead, forcing the rival’s mistake and serving for the opener.
Aryna held at 30 at 5-3 after Brenda’s backhand mistake, bringing the opener home after 30 minutes. The defending champion served well in the second set, challenging the young gun to follow that pace. Fruhvirtova cracked under pressure, dropping serve in games one and three and falling miles behind.
Sabalenka served well in the remaining games, moving over the top with a fine hold at 5-2. Brenda notched her first Major win over Ana Bogdan a couple of days earlier, ousting the Romania 2-6, 6-4, 6-3 in two hours and 19 minutes.
A teenager made a slow start and required a medical timeout before raising her level in sets two and three. Fruhvirtova forced a decider and grabbed consecutive breaks to terminate the rival’s resistance. “Brenda is 16, and she is doing great.
I wish I had her level when I was at her age. Brenda is an unbelievable player; she will reach the top soon if she keeps working. I’m super happy with my victory. I stayed focused on my game and tried to fight for every point,” Aryna Sabalenka said.