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Australian Open 2024: Aryna Sabalenka reveals Iga Swiatek motivation after double-bagel thrashing of Lesia Tsurenko

It was another straightforward day on court for Aryna Sabalenka at the Australian Open as the world No. 2 coasted past Lesia Tsurenko 6-0 6-0. It continued a remarkable start to the tournament for the Belarusian, who has now lost just six games in her first three matches, and afterwards she spoke about trying to “get closer” to Iga Swiatek. Sabalenka will face Amanda Anisimova next.

 

 

Aryna Sabalenka said her double-bagel thrashing of Lesia Tsurenko in the Australian Open third round had its roots in trying to keep pace with Iga Swiatek.
Sabalenka was on red-hot form once again in Melbourne on Friday, swatting aside her shell-shocked opponent in just 52 minutes with a customarily powerful display.
After convincing performances in her previous two matches – and having now lost just six games all tournament – Sabalenka is making a strong defence of her title that she took last year with a final victory over Elena Rybakina, who exited in Melbourne on Thursday in an epic loss to Anna Blinkova.

 

 

Speaking on court afterwards, Sabalenka said: “Last year Iga won so many sets 6-0, and this is one of the goals – try to get closer to her.
“Actually, I’m just super happy with the level I’m playing so far and hopefully I can just keep going like that, or even better.”
The world No. 2 faced a break point in the very first game of the encounter on Rod Laver Arena, but once she came through that test it was one-way traffic.
The first set was wrapped up with a brutal inside-out forehand as Tsurenko was broken for a third time.

 

 

And Sabalenka continued her dominance in the second, hitting 17 winners off the ground to progress to the fourth round.
After securing six bagels in the entirety of 2023, Sabalenka is already up to five by the first month of 2024 as she makes a play to emulate Swiatek and recapture the world No. 1 ranking.
Next up for the Belarusian is Amanda Anisimova, the 22-year-old who has returned to tennis with a bang at this tournament after taking eight months out of the sport for mental health reasons.

 

 

 

 

Next up for the Belarusian is Amanda Anisimova, the 22-year-old who has returned to tennis with a bang at this tournament after taking eight months out of the sport for mental health reasons.
Of her upcoming opponent, Sabalenka said: “She’s [an] incredible player, I’m happy to see her back in tennis.
“We played a lot of matches, always tough battles and I’m looking forward for a great fight.”
Anisimova saw off Paula Badosa – returning herself after an injury lay-off – 7-5 6-4 in one of the more engrossing matches of the women’s draw so far, with the American declaring afterwards she had surprised herself with how quickly she has found her form again.
“It’s quite unbelievable after taking some time off, but I’m really feeling good,” Anisimova said.

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