World No.5 Aryna Sabalenka extended her perfect start to the year with a comfortable 6-1 6-4 victory over Czech Tereza Martincova in the first round of the Australian Open.
After wrapping up the past season with a runner-up finish at the WTA Finals, Sabalenka opened the new year with the Adelaide International 1 title and has now won her fifth consecutive match in 2023 with her quick victory in Melbourne. The fifth-seeded Sabalenka saved all the five break points she faced as she cruised past the world No.73 Martincova in 59 minutes and booked a meeting with American Shelby Rogers in the second round.
Sabalenka, who is yet to win a Grand Slam, says that she’s working hard both physically and mentally and that she’s ready to make a deep run at the Australian Open. The three-time major semifinalist believes that the only thing missing in her game is her mindset when she makes mistakes, as she gets upset and loses her calmness.
Fourth seed Caroline Garcia, who ended the 2022 season with a triumph at Fort Worth, eased past Canadian qualifier Katherine Sebov 6-3 6-0. Her second-round opponent will be former US Open finalist Leylah Fernandez, who beat France’s Alize Cornet 7-5 6-2.
Former world No.1 Karolina Pliskova needed just 64 minutes to get past Wang Xiyu 6-1 6-3.
Garbine Muguruza, two-time Grand Slam champion and 2020 Australian Open finalist, served for victory at 6-5 in the second set but eventually lost to Belgian Elise Mertens 3-6 7-6(3) 6-1. This is Muguruza’s fourth consecutive first-round exit and third in 2023. The Spaniard has now lost in the first round for the third time in her last four Grand Slam appearances.
Camila Giorgi dispatched Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-0 6-1 in just 55 minutes. Taylor Townsend defeated wildcard Diane Parry 6-1 6-1 to win her first Grand Slam match since becoming a mom.