MELBOURNE: Fifth seed Aryna Sabalenka breezed into the second round of the Australian Open Tuesday, needing only 69 minutes to beat the Czech Republic’s Tereza Martincova 6-1, 6-4.

“It wasn’t that easy, I’m super-happy to start with the win,” said Sabalenka, who has been known to suffer from nerves in the past.

At her two season-opening tournaments in Australia last year she was reduced to tears as her serve collapsed.

“I have to work on my mindset and stay calm and not get too upset when I make mistakes,” she said. “I really believe this is the only thing missing in my game.”

Sabalenka, who reached the semi-finals at the US open last year, continued her good form in Australia this year after winning the recent Adelaide International without dropping a set.

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She hit 29 winners and saved all five break points faced and was rarely troubled as she looks to get past the last 16 in the Australian Open for the first time, having reached that stage in each of the last two seasons.

The Belarusian world number five will play Shelby Rogers next, after the American beat Dutch qualifier Arianne Hartono 6-4, 6-3.


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