Aryna Sabalenka, the world number two, began her clay court season in style with a straight-sets victory over Barbora Krejcikova on Wednesday. The Australian Open champion defeated her Czech opponent 6-2, 6-3 in just 75 minutes to secure her place in the quarter-finals.
Sabalenka has now won three of her four meetings with Krejcikova this year, having gained revenge for her loss in Dubai with victories at Indian Wells and Miami.
Despite facing a fellow Grand Slam champion in Krejcikova, Sabalenka remained focused and composed throughout the match. She never faced a break point and hit 10 aces as she cantered to her 21st win of the season, putting her behind only Jessica Pegula and Elena Rybakina, who have each won 22 matches so far this year.
Sabalenka‘s impressive form on clay will give her confidence as she looks to go one better than her runner-up finishes in Stuttgart in 2021 and 2020.
Speaking after her victory, Sabalenka acknowledged the difficulty of facing a fellow Grand Slam champion but said it helped her to stay focused and fight for every point. With her form improving on clay, Sabalenka will be looking to continue her success as she progresses further in the tournament.