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Ruthless Victoria Azarenka reaches week two of Australian Open by dropping nine games in three matches

Two-time champion Victoria Azarenka has been invincible in her first three matches at the 2022 Australian Open.

Victoria Azarenka 2022 Australian Open January 17, 2022, MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA: Victoria Azarenka of Belarus in action during the first round of the 2022 Australian Open Grand Slam tennis tournament against Panna Udvardy of Hungary (Credit Image: © Rob Prange/AFP7 via ZUMA Press Wire) || 218218_0062 2022 Australia Australian grand ITF melbourne open open d australie PRESS slam sport tennis WTA zagency zlast24 zselect ZSPORT ZTENNIS Zuma ZUMAPRESS.com zwire

Australian Open 2022 | Draw Order of play | Third round

Grand Slams are not won in the first week, but if they were, Victoria Azarenka might just be standing at the podium. The two-time champion has demolished her opposition during week one in Melbourne, and on Friday she kicked off her weekend in style, producing a jaw-dropping 6-0, 6-2 takedown of Ukrainian Elina Svitolina on Rod Laver Arena to book her spot in the round of 16 for the first time since 2016.

Editor’s Note: Ash Barty has dropped just three games through two rounds and will face Camila Giorgi later on Day 5.

Azarenka needed just 67 minutes to complete her thrashing of the No 15 seed, producing 17 winners and nine unforced errors to improve to 5-0 lifetime against Svitolina.

The three games lost in the third round means that Azarenka has dropped just nine games – a gaudy average of three per match – in her first three matches at the 2022 Australian Open.

An Australian Open legend

Azarenka improves to 42-11 at the Australian Open, despite the fact that she entered this year’s draw having not won a match in Melbourne since 2016. Azarenka has missed three editions of the tournament since 2016 and dropped first-rounders in 2019 and 2021.

But the Belarusian’s history is strong in Melbourne Park. She remains the last woman to have mounted a successful title defense (2013), and she has earned more main draw singles wins at the Australian Open than any other player in the draw. She’s even a junior champion in the event, in both singles and doubles, and she has been to the final in both doubles and mixed doubles.

The No 24 seed will face either Barbora Krejcikova or Jelena Ostapenko in the round of 16.

Pegula back in week two

In the other early singles match on Day 5, American Jessica Pegula moved past Nuria Parrizas Diaz 7-6(3), 6-2 to reach the second week in Melbourne for the second straight year. The No 21-seeded American put up her best Grand Slam performance to date in 2021 at Melbourne, when she powered into the quarter-finals before falling to Jennifer Brady.

Seeds who won on Friday (3rd round): Krejcikova (4), Sakkari (5), Badosa (8), Pegula (21) Azarenka (24)

Seeds already out: Muguruza (3), Kontaveit (6), Kenin (11), Rybakina (12), Kerber (16), Raducanu (17), Gauff (18), Kvitova (20), Bencic (22), Fernandez (23), Sorribes Tormo (32)

Seeds who lost on Friday (3rd round): Svitolina (15), Ostapenko (26), Kudermetova (28)

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