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Apr 26, 2024 7:10 pm

Aryna Sabalenka needs three sets to win Madrid opener

aryna sabalenka

No. 2 seed Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus began her title defense at the Mutua Madrid Open with a three-set win over Poland’s Magda Linette on Friday in Spain.

Sabalenka won the Round of 64 match 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, prevailing in two hours and 19 minutes. She saved eight of nine break points while smashing 10 aces.

The World No. 2 fell behind a break in the second set and couldn’t catch up, but once she was ahead 4-3 in the third set, she won the crucial eighth game on Linette’s serve to take control for good.

“She’s a tough opponent,” Sabalenka said post-match. “I’ve played a couple matches against her and they’ve always been tough battles. There were some ups and downs but I’m happy I was able to close this match and get through to another one.”

Sabalenka’s next opponent will be teenager Robin Montgomery, who stunned No. 26 seed Katie Boulter of Great Britain 1-6, 6-3, 6-4.

No. 4 seed Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan eased past Italy’s Lucia Bronzetti 6-4, 6-3, while No. 7 Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic beat Shelby Rogers 6-1, 6-3. No. 10 Daria Kasatkina of Russia outlasted Cristina Bucsa of Spain 5-7, 7-6 (5), 6-3.

No. 12 Jasmine Paolini of Italy nearly had a double bagel, settling instead for a 6-0, 6-1 win over 18-year-old Victoria Jimenez Kasintseva of Andorra in 59 minutes.

Another teenager had better luck, though. In an all-teen battle, Russia’s Mirra Andreeva rallied past No. 29 seed Linda Noskova of the Czech Republic 4-6, 6-3, 6-3. Andreeva is just 16, while Noskova is 19.

“I just tried to keep playing my game, keep playing aggressive because it was a bit tough after the first set,” Andreeva told Tennis Channel. “I had a lot of game points; I was up with a break, serving, and then I lost the set, so that was a bit hard.

“I’m trying to play using my brain. I’m not trying to hit every ball as hard as I can.”

No. 13 Danielle Collins emerged on her sixth match point of a third-set tiebreaker to defeat Servia’s Olga Danilovic 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (8). The win is Collins’ career-best 14th in a row.

Other winners included No. 20 seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia, No. 21 Caroline Garcia of France, Sara Bejlek of the Czech Republic, Jaqueline Cristian of Romania, Mayar Sherif of Egypt, Caroline Dolehide and Ashlyn Krueger.

No. 6 seed Qinwen Zheng of China was forced to retire while down 7-5, 2-0 to Kazakhstan’s Yulia Putintseva.

–Field Level Media

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