Australian Open 2024 results: Mirra Andreeva stages comeback win, Aryna Sabalenka & Coco Gauff progress

Sabalenka has enjoyed serene progress in Melbourne so far and has also seen some of her title rivals exit early.

World number one Swiatek’s first two matches have kept her on court for more than five hours, with the Pole having to come back from the brink against Danielle Collins in the second round.

Third seed Elena Rybakina, who Sabalenka beat in last year’s final, was beaten in a record-breaking tie-break in the second round, while fifth seed Jessica Pegula also lost on Thursday.

Sabalenka, by contrast, has spent just under three hours on court and has yet to be truly tested.

She reached the semi-finals of all four majors last year but says she is in even better form this year, saying in her on-court interview that “Aryna 2024” would beat the Sabalenka of last season.

“I think today’s performance was perfection,” she said. “There is always something to improve, you know.

“You just can’t be happy with the level you are at right now so you always have to keep moving, keep improving.”

She could face a tougher test against Anisimova, who is playing her first major since taking a seven-month break for her mental health, and beat former world number two Paula Badosa 7-5 6-4.

Sabalenka could potentially meet Gauff, who beat her in the New York final last year, in the semi-finals.

Gauff has also yet to drop a set at this year’s tournament and was equally dominant against American compatriot Parks on Friday.

She will face Poland’s Magdalena Frech, who beat Russian qualifier Anastasia Zakharova in three sets, while Sabalenka will play Amanda Anisimova.

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