Aryna Sabalenka's 'brutal' act at Australian Open amid insane truth

The World No.5 kept a staggering record alive in 2023 during extraordinary scenes at the Australian Open.

Pictured left, Aryna Sabalenka blasts a massive backhand winner in her Australian Open victory on Monday.
Aryna Sabalenka sent a warning to her rivals in a devastating display of power-hitting at the Australian Open on Monday. Pic: Ch9/Getty

Aryna Sabalenka has sent a 'brutal' warning to her Australian Open rivals with a commanding victory over Belinda Bencic in the last-16 on Monday. In a devastating showcase of her power-hitting ability, the World No.5 blasted 32 winners in the 7-5 6-2 win over the 12th seed on Rod Laver Arena.

Sabalenka is yet to drop a set in 2023 and the 24-year-old kept that incredible statistic alive in a performance that has left many predicting that she is the player to beat in the women's draw. The Belarusian's win means she now meets Donna Vekic in the quarter-finals after the unseeded Croatian beat Czech teenager Linda Fruhvirtova 6-2 1-6 6-3 later on Monday.

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Bencic raced to a 4-2 lead but had no answers when Sabalenka found her range and started belting winners all around the court. Despite enjoying the better start afte the first six game, Bencic won just one of the next six, dropping the opening set with a double-fault.

Sabalenka's superior serve was telling as she ran away with an eighth consecutive straight-sets victory of the year in one hour and 27 minutes to reach the Australian Open quarter-finals for the first time. "I'm super happy with the win today," Sabalenka said.

"(Bencic) is an unbelievable player, she played so good, and I'm super happy with the level today." The tennis world was left in awe by the stunning display from Sabalenka, who has emerged as perhaps the favourite to claim the women's title, following the shock exits of Iga Swiatek and Coco Gauff on Sunday.

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Positive vibes driving Aryna Sabalenka at Aus Open

Sabalenka says she's tried to be more "boring" on court and did well to keep her emotions in check when an early break. "It takes me a little while to understand that negative emotion is not going to help you on court," Sabalenka said.

"You just have to stay strong and believe, no matter what, and do everything you can to get back in the score and to win the match. I'm super happy with my mindset during the game today."

Sabalenka has made three grand slam semi-final appearances in the last two years but has never previously made the last eight at Melbourne Park. Arguably, the biggest threat to her chances of lifting a maiden grand slam singles title at Melbourne Park comes from World No.3 Jessica Pegula.

Seen here, Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka plays a forehand in her fourth round victory over Belinda Bencic at the Australian Open.
Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka plays a forehand in her fourth round victory over Belinda Bencic at the Australian Open. Pic: Getty

The American third seed set up a last-eight clash with two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka after beating former French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova, 7-5, 6-2 on Sunday. Pegula's compatriot Gauff was bundled out by Jelena Ostapenko, who prevailed 7-5, 6-3 in their last-16 clash.

Ostapenko set up a quarter-final showdown with Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina, who swept past Swiatek 6-4, 6-4 in just under 90 minutes on a stunned Rod Laver Arena.

Swiatek's defeat to Elena Rybakina made it the first grand slam since the Open era began in 1968 to lose the top two seeds in both the men's and women's draws before the quarter-finals. "I felt the pressure," 21-year-old Swiatek said. "I felt that I didn't want to lose instead of wanting to win."

Swiatek, who dominated women's tennis last year and is already a three-time major champion, added: "I felt today that I don't have that much left to fight even more."

with AAP

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