Aryna Sabalenka soars into third round in Australia

No. 2 seed Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus breezed into the Australian Open third round Wednesday with a 6-3, 6-2 defeat of 16-year-old Czech qualifier Brenda Fruhvirtova.

The 67-minute victory was the ninth straight win at Melbourne Park for the defending champion, who finished with a decisive 30-7 edge in winners. Sabalenka converted four of six break chances, winning the last three games in the first set and the first four in the second.

Fruhvirtova was one of three 16-year-olds to make it to Round 2, the most of any grand slam since the 2005 U.S. Open.

“She’s incredible player for someone 16 years old,” Sabalenka said. “I mean, I think first six games was really great level, then I kind of step in and start playing little bit better.”

Sabalenka won 10 out of 12 net points and saved one of the two break points she faced.

“I’m just trying to play my best,” she said. “If it goes to two sets, I’m happy to win it in two sets. If it’s going to be three sets, I don’t care. I just try to focus on myself and fight for every point. It’s not like these two matches give me confidence. It’s tennis. You have to be ready for anything.”

Sabalenka advanced to face No. 28 seed Lesia Tsurenko of Ukraine, a 6-3, 6-4 winner against Rebeka Masarova of Spain. Tsurenko reached the third round in Australia for the first time since 2013.

Russia’s Elina Avanesyan took advantage of 43 unforced errors by No. 8 seed Maria Sakkari of Greece in a 6-4, 6-4 upset.

Avanesyan’s third-round opponent will be Ukrainian Marta Kostyuk, who survived a match point to knock out No. 25 seed Elise Mertens of Belgium 5-7, 6-1, 7-6 (6) in two hours, 53 minutes.

Poland’s Magdalena Frech eliminated No. 16 seed Caroline Garcia of France 6-4, 7-6 (2). It was the first top-20 win ever for Frech, who endured 43 winners (but also 38 unforced errors) by Garcia.

“After the preseason when I worked so hard, I told myself I want to just have fun on the court,” Frech said. “I don’t want to (put) pressure on me, and I don’t want to be scared on the court. I just wanted to play my game.”

Standing between Frech and her first appearance in the second week of a major is third-round opponent Anastasia Zakharova, a Russian qualifier ranked No. 190 in the world.

Spain’s Paula Badosa also moved on, hammering nine aces and saving all five break points in a 6-2, 6-3 defeat of Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.