Big guns Sabalenka, Jabeur, Pegula progress at US Open


Aryna Sabalenka, with her sights firmly set on a second grand slam title and the world No.1 ranking, has powered into the US Open third round with a commanding 6-3 6-2 win over Britain's Jodie Burrage.

The Australian Open champion converted three of her four break-point opportunities and saved the two break points she faced during the 74-minute match in Louis Armstrong Stadium on Thursday.

"I'm super happy with the level today, and super happy to get this win," Sabalenka told reporters after overwhelming the world No.96.

The second seed, who reached the US Open semi-finals in each of the last two years, can claim the top ranking for the first time if she outlasts Poland's Iga Swiatek in the main draw.

Up next for the Belarusian will be Frenchwoman Clara Burel, a 6-4 6-2 winner over Czech 25th seed Karolina Pliskova.

Last year's runner-up Ons Jabeur was made to work hard by Czech teenager Linda Noskova before sealing a thrilling 7-6 (9-7) 4-6 6-3 victory.

Noskova, 18, had won their only previous meeting in the Adelaide semi-finals earlier this year.

Jabeur, who is seeking a maiden grand slam title, was dogged by breathing difficulties and other issues in her last match, and took a tumble chasing a low shot at the net before taking the second set.

The Tunisian fifth seed recovered to close out the win on her fourth match point and set up a meeting with another Czech, Marie Bouzkova.

"It's tricky to feel sick during a tournament so we manage with the team. Let's see what's going to happen," Jabeur said.

"This is a very special tournament. I think I'm going to use 'warrior' as a symbol for this tournament to continue until the end."

Top-ranked American Jessica Pegula crushed Patricia Maria Tig 6-3 6-1 to set up an enticing third-round clash with Elina Svitolina.

The clean ball-striking of the third seed was more than the world No.700 from Romania could handle in a match that lasted just over an hour.

Svitolina came from behind to beat Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia 5-7 6-4 6-4 in a nearly three-hour clash earlier in the day.

The Ukrainian returned in April following the birth of her daughter with fellow tennis player Gael Monfils and said she drew inspiration from her husband, who was playing his second-round match at the same time.

Pegula edged Svitolina in a three-set battle in Washington D.C. earlier this month and holds a 3-1 advantage in their career meetings.

"It's great to see her back, playing at such a high level so quickly. I just played her a few weeks ago so it's going to be very tough," Pegula said.

Also advancing to the next round were Maddison Keys, a 6-1 6-2 winner over Yanina Wickmayer, Ekaterina Alexandrova, No.9 seed Marketa Vondrousova and 13th seed Daria Kasatkina.

Alexandrova beat Lauren Tsurenko 6-1 6-3, Vondrousova defeated Martina Trevisan 6-2 6-2 and Kasatkina battled back to defeat American Sofia Kenin, a former grand slam champion but now world No.101, 2-6 6-4 6-4.