Sabalenka storms into Melburne Round of 16 showdown with Bencic

Fifth-seeded Aryna Sabalenka marched into the final 16 of the Australian Open in straight units on Saturday for a showdown with Olympic gold medalist Belinda Bencic.

The Belarusian edged Thirty second-place Belgium Elise Mertens 6-2, 6-3 at Margaret Court docket Area, cementing her rising standing as favourite for the primary Grand Slam of the 12 months.

It took Sabalenka simply 74 minutes to beat her former doubles accomplice – the pair received 5 titles collectively together with the Australian Open in 2021 – however stated it wasn’t as simple because it seemed.

“It is actually laborious to play particularly in opposition to them. She’s an ideal participant, an unbelievable fighter,” stated the robust Sabalenka, who has but to win a serious.

“I knew it was going to be robust. I am tremendous completely satisfied that I used to be capable of deal with successful this match from begin to end as a result of she’s an ideal participant.”

Switzerland’s Bencic was simply as assured in her 6-2, 7-5 win over Italy’s Camila Giorgi on the Rod Laver Area.

Sabalenka and Bencic are each profitable in Australia this 12 months.

They each received titles in Adelaide earlier this month, each are but to lose a set in Melbourne and each at the moment are unbeaten in seven video games.

One thing needs to be finished after they combat for a spot within the quarterfinals on Monday.

“Sabalenka is a really aggressive participant, has plenty of energy,” stated Bencic, who after Martina Hingis, the champion of 1997, 1998 and 1999, is just the second Swiss lady to wish to win the Australian Open.

Bencic, who final week returned to the highest 10 for the primary time since 2021, has Sabalenka’s former coach Dmitry Tursunov in her nook for the fourth-round encounter.

“Dmitry was their coach earlier than, so he might help me quite a bit. I hope so,” stated Bencic.