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Top seeds Sabalenka, Muguruza through at Kremlin Cup

Both top seeds went the distance in their Wednesday matches at the Kremlin Cup

Aryna Sabalenka Sep 9, 2021; Flushing, NY, USA; Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus reacts after winning a point against Leylah Fernandez of Canada (not pictured) on day eleven of the 2021 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. (Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports / Panoramic)

The top seeds made harder work of it than they might have expected – but Aryna Sabalenka and Garbine Muguruza are safely through to the quarter-finals of the Kremlin Cup.

The top-seeded Belarusian beat Australia’s Ajla Tomljanovic 7-6(2), 4-6, 6-1, while the Spanish second seed beat Tereza Martincova 6-4, 4-6, 6-3.

Both are making their main-draw debuts at the tournament.

Sabalenka is returning to action following a positive test for Covid-19 that forced her out of Indian Wells, and she hit 47 winners and 10 aces in the course of the match, taking five of her 11 break point chances.

“It was quite a tough opponent for my first match after a break,” said Sabalenka afterwards.

“Step by step, I found my range and I was feeling comfortable on the court. Hopefully, I can play even better in the next match.”

For her part, Muguruza took seven of her 18 break point chances, serving up three aces.

“It was a very difficult match, and I’m happy to get it,” Muguruza said afterwards.

“I think I served well in the third set and I kept attacking and doing my game. I got the break and I managed to hold it until the end.”

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