Aryna Sabalenka shook off a slow start to power past American Shelby Rogers 6-3 6-1 and move into the Australian Open third round on Thursday, as normal service resumed at the season’s first Grand Slam after two days interrupted by heat and rain.
World number five Sabalenka, who warmed up for Melbourne Park by winning the Adelaide title, mowed down Tereza Martincova in her opener but struggled for rhythm in the opening exchanges with Rogers, dropping serve early in the first set.
The Belarusian soon hit her stride, however, and powered past the American to close out the match and stay unbeaten in six matches this year.
While Rogers’ hopes of an upset came to nothing fellow American Katie Volynets stunned ninth seed Veronika Kudermetova 6-4 2-6 6-2 in just her sixth main draw appearance at a Grand Slam, the world number 113 revelling in the Margaret Court Arena atmosphere.
“I’ve never played in a stadium this packed and that many people keeping the energy up for me,” said Volynets, who became the first U.S. qualifier to reach round three in women’s singles at Melbourne Park since Lindsay Davenport in 1993.
A moment of controversy saw Frenchman Jeremy Chardy lose his cool in his 6-4 6-4 6-1 defeat by Briton Dan Evans. Chardy unloaded on the chair umpire after she did not order a point replayed when a ball fell out of the Frenchman’s pocket during a rally.
“In my life, 20 years, I’ve never had one umpire bad like you,” he told umpire Miriam Bley. “Where are you looking? You looking at the birds? The clouds?
“It’s the biggest mistake of the Australian Open. There’s not one umpire on tour that does this mistake, not one.”
Evans will next meet Russian fifth seed Andrey Rublev, who beat Finn Emil Ruusuvuori 6-2 6-4 6-7(2) 6-3.
J.J. Wolf joined them in the next round after he beat Argentine Diego Schwartzman, the 23rd seed, 6-1 6-4 6-4.
The home crowd rose to acknowledge the retiring Sam Stosur, who lost in the first round of the women’s doubles with Alize Cornet. The 38-year-old major winner still has the mixed doubles to come, where she will partner Matt Ebden.
Highlights of the fourth day of the Australian Open at Melbourne Park on Thursday, all times local (GMT +11):
1600 RUBLEV SEES OFF RUUSUVUORI
Fifth seed Andrey Rublev fought off a challenge from Finland’s Emil Ruusuvuori in the third set to reach the third round with a 6-2 6-4 6-7(2) 6-3 win.
Rublev, who reached the quarter-finals in 2021, will next face Britain’s Dan Evans.
1535 LINETTE TOPPLES KONTAVEIT
Poland’s Magda Linette battled from a set down to triumph 3-6 6-3 6-4 over 16th seed Anett Kontaveit in just under two hours on Margaret Court Arena.
1445 MERTENS SETS UP SABALENKA REUNION
Belgian 26th seed Elise Mertens comfortably saw off Hobart winner Lauren Davis 6-4 6-3 to reach the third round, where she will meet her former doubles partner Aryna Sabalenka.
Mertens and Sabalenka won the 2021 women’s title in Melbourne and the 2019 U.S. Open crown.
1400 CHARDY FUMES AFTER BALL FALLS FROM POCKET
Jeremy Chardy accused a chair umpire of making “the biggest mistake of the Australian Open” during his second-round match against Dan Evans, which he lost in straight sets.
Defending break point at 3-3 in the opening set, a ball fell out of Chardy’s pocket and he put the next forehand into the net. Evans said he did not see the ball and umpire Miriam Bley elected not to replay the point.
“Where are you looking? You looking at the birds? The clouds?” the Frenchman raged. “There’s not one umpire on tour that does this mistake, not one.”
1321 VOLYNETS OUSTS KUDERMETOVA
Katie Volynets scored the biggest win of her career with a 6-4 2-6 6-2 upset of ninth seed Veronika Kudermetova, and became the first American qualifier to reach the women’s singles third round in Melbourne since Lindsay Davenport in 1993.
“I literally have the chills,” Volynets said. “Suddenly, you get match point and it’s like ‘wow I’ve got match point against the ninth seed’. You just start going for it and let whatever happens happen.”
1254 STOSUR BOWS OUT OF WOMEN’S DOUBLES
A tearful Sam Stosur received a standing ovation from the crowd after losing in the first round of the women’s doubles with Alize Cornet. The 38-year-old major winner has said she will retire after the Australian Open.
Stosur still has the mixed doubles to come, where she will partner fellow Australian Matt Ebden.
“It’s a bit bittersweet but thank you all for coming out today. It’s been really special,” said Stosur.
“I love playing, I love competing. But you get to a point where the other things become a little more difficult. I’ve loved being able to do everything I’ve been able to do.”
1244 SABALENKA POWERS INTO NEXT ROUND
Fifth seed Aryna Sabalenka swatted aside Shelby Rogers 6-3 6-1 to reach the third round as the big-hitting Belarusian, who warmed up for the year’s first major with the Adelaide title, found her rhythm after an error-prone start to the match.
“She always plays fast and puts me under pressure. I expected a great level from her and that’s why I had to stay focused to win this in two sets,” Sabalenka said.
1114 PLAY UNDERWAY AT MELBOURNE PARK
Second-round action began as scheduled on a pleasant fourth day at the year’s first Grand Slam, after extreme heat and persistent rain caused lengthy delays over the past two days.
The weather forecast looks good, with a high of 19 degrees Celsius (66.2 degrees Fahrenheit) and only a slight chance of showers in the morning.