Azarenka crushes No. 3 seed Kenin in Rome

9/17/2020 3:52:50 PM EST

On the heels of her runner-up finish at the U.S. Open, Victoria Azarenka blanked No. 3 seed Sofia Kenin 6-0, 6-0 on Thursday to reach the third round of the Internazionali BNL d'Italia in Rome.

Azarenka, won 89 percent of her first-service points, faced no break points and made just four unforced errors during her 61-minute victory over the reigning Australian Open champion.

"I was really more focused on what I can do today on the court, than on what she does well," Azarenka said. "So I think that was the difference, I was able to insist on my level and insist on my pace."

The unseeded native of Belarus has shown no difficulty making the transition from the hardcourts in New York to the clay in the Italian capital. Nor did Azarenka show any signs of fatigue after battling through jet lag to beat Venus Williams in straight sets in the first round on Wednesday.

She recorded only one unforced error and lost just eight points in the opening set.

"I think I used my serve smart today," Azarenka said. "I went for bigger serves when I needed, I went for variety when I needed. It was great, and I wasn't feeling that great in the warmup, so it worked out in the match."

Azarenka, 31, will square off with Daria Kasatkina for a berth in the quarterfinals. The Russian qualifier advanced to the Round of 16 with a 6-2, 6-3 win against Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic.

In other second-round action, No. 9 seed Garbine Muguruza of Spain outlasted 16-year-old Coco Gauff 7-6 (3), 3-6, 6-3 in two hours and 27 minutes. Fifteen double faults didn't help the American teenager's chances in the tightly contested match.

Muguruza, 26, said her opponent's age was of no concern.

"I don't look at her as a different player. She's here and she's playing, and it doesn't matter how old she is," Muguruza said. "She's a great competitor and she can play very well, as she's proven to us."

Up next for Muguruza is No. 7 seed Johanna Konta of Great Britain, a 6-0, 6-4 winner against Romania's Irina Begu.

Kenin wasn't the only top seed to lose in straight sets, as Slovenia's Polona Hercog posted a 6-4, 6-4 win against No. 5 seed and World No. 8 Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands. That snapped a 22-match losing streak for Hercog against Top 10 oponents, dating back to 2012.

Kazakhstan's Yulia Putintseva eliminated No. 8 seed Petra Martic of Croatia, 6-3, 6-7 (2), 6-4.

No. 12 Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic earned a 6-3, 6-3 win over Arantxa Rus of the Netherlands.

Russia's Svetlana Kuznetsova rallied to beat No. 14 Anett Kontaveit of Estonia in three sets, 4-6, 7-5, 6-3.

--Field Level Media

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