MELBOURNE [Australia]: Aryna Sabalenka defeated Belinda Bencic on Monday at Rod Laver Arena to reach her first Australian Open quarterfinal. Sabalenka produced a stunning performance to defeat No.12 seed Bencic 7-5, 6-2 in a match that lasted 87 minutes, coming back from a break down in the first set.
The first set was characterised by powerful groundstrokes: a great forehand down the line opened up Bencic's early break for a 2-1 lead, and she eventually won 4-2. However, Sabalenka recovered the break for a 4-4 tie with a strong crosscourt backhand.
As the opening set went on, Sabalenka kept the momentum going, holding serve at love for the first time to get to 6-5.
Following a successful forehand return in the following game, Sabalenka was awarded a double set point, and Bencic double-faulted to hand the No. 5 seed the opening set.
Elsewhere at the Margaret Court Arena, former Top 20 player Donna Vekic of Croatia rolled into the second Grand Slam quarter-final of her career with a 6-2, 1-6, 6-3 victory against Czech teen Linda Fruhvirtova after two hours and 7 minutes of battle.
Vekic blasted a backhand winner down the line to create a break opportunity at 4-3 in the third set, and Fruhvirtova double-faulted to give away her service. Vekic then came up with a few precise and potent deliveries to serve out the match.