Aryna Sabalenka showed exactly why she is ranked second in the world, as she dominated her opening match of the Indian Wells Open against Evgeniya Rodina.
Belarus’ Sabalenka needed just 66 minutes to defeat the Russian 6-2 6-0, taking advantage of her first-round bye to book her spot in the third round against Ukraine’s Lesia Tsurenko.
Tsurenko had to come from behind against the in-form Donna Vekic, fresh off her Monterrey Open title last week, but that big effort may have had the Croatian with heavy legs as she ran out of steam 2-6 6-2 6-2.
It was a strong day for the Ukranians as 27th seed Anhelina Kalinina beat the Czech Republic’s Linda Fruhvirtova 4-6 6-4 7-5, and she will next face Greece’s Maria Sakkari.
Sakkari, the seventh seed, had to deal with adversity after a poor first set against Shelby Rogers, coming back to win 2-6 6-4 6-0.
Olympic gold medallist, Belinda Bencic, lost her Swiss showdown against Jil Teichmann 3-6 6-3 6-3, while Veronika Kudermetova got the better of her Russian compatriot Anna Blinkova 6-3 6-4.
The second-highest ranked American in the field, Coco Gauff, had no issues dispatching Spain’s Cristina Bucsa 6-2 6-4. But it was tougher work for America’s top hope Jessica Pegula as she was pushed all the way by recent Merida Open champion Camila Giorgi, before prevailing 3-6 6-1 6-2.