Aryna Sabalenka led Top five colleague Elina Svitolina into the US Open third round on Wednesday, with both seeds earning efficient straight-set wins.

Second seed Sabalenka from Belarus claimed her 40th victory of the season, defeating Slovene Tamara Zidansek 6-3, 6-1 in 59 minutes.

2019 semi-finalist Svitolina, seeded fifth, dispatched Spain’s No. 231 Rebeka Masarova 6-2, 7-5 in less than an hour and a quarter.

Sabalenka did major repairs to her record here after losing in the second round at her last two appearances.

The seed notched 24 winners to eight for her opponent, playing the second round here for the first time.

Ninth seed Garbine Muguruza won her first match after three losses against Andrea Petkovic, defeating the experienced German 6-4, 6-2 for a third-round spot.

The Spaniard, former WTA No. 1, overcame former New York quarter-finalist Petkovic in 91 minutes, capitalising on six breaks of the 34-year-old’s serve.

Muguruza needed nearly an hour and four set points to claim the opener; the seed then went up a double break in the second set, lost one of them but emerged the winner.

“It was just a weird match. Andrea and I know each other well. I just felt that it was difficult at some point to play because,you get along well.

“But I”m happy with my level, I played a very solid match from the beginning.”

Muguruza next faces Victoria Azarenka after her fellow two-time champion at the majors defeated Italy’s Jasmine Paolini 6-3, 7-6(1) despite 27 winners from her opponent to her own 19.

“I know that it’s going to be a very difficult match,” Azarenka said. “She’s a dangerous opponent, a Grand Slam champion, and definitely knows what it takes to be on big stages, win big matches.

“But I love those kind of challenges. It’s going to be in the third round, but it really doesn’t matter. 

“To win the titles, you need to beat the best players. That’s what I’m looking to do in these big matches.”

Simona Halep, the 12th seed coming back from a spring calf injury, erased three years of poor results with a 6-1, 6-3 win into the third round over Slovak Kristina Kucova.

Simona Halep winning today – photo Darren Carroll/USTA

Halep. a former Roland Garros and Wimbledon titleholder, needed just 70 minutes to race to victory, reaching the third round here for the first time since a 2016 quarter-final.

Halep said she has struggled with her return to the courts.

“I got healthy and I could play without pain, but I was still scared, Mentally I was a little bit down. 

“I have a lot of experience with pain, but I feel good now, no pain, no struggling anymore with the mental part.”

The 31-year-old Kucova, a lucky loser from qualifying rounds and the New York junior champion in 2007, had no time to warm up on the big stage after the opening match was quickly moved to the Ashe showcourt after Naomi Osaka got a walkover.

The Japanese third seed advanced without firing a shot as Serb opponent Olga Danilovic pulled out with illness.

Halep, who swept nine of the final 10 games, said her confidence is growing after winning her second match in three days.

“I feel better now, I have to admit I’m more confident,” the Romanian said. “I didn’t play for five or six months because of injuries, so it’s always tough to enter the first few matches of a Grand Slam.” 

Tunisian Ons Jabeur needed less than a hour to beat an approaching rain shower as she crushed Maria Camila Osorio Serrano 6-0, 6-1 in 53 minutes.

The breakthrough Arab player managed 16 winners, converting on all eight of her break chances. She has now reached the third round at her last eight Grand Slams.

Jabeur will play 15th seed Elise Mertens after the Belgian defeated qualifier Valentini Grammatikopoulou 6-2, 6-2.

Main photo:- Elina Svitolina winning today – by Rhea Nall/USTA


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