Rybakina eases into Madrid Open last 16, Sabalenka survives

tennis28 April 2024 21:05| Ā© AFP
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Elina Rybakina Ā© Getty Images

Women's world No 4 Elena Rybakina eased to a 6-1, 6-4 win over Egypt's Mayar Sherif to reach the Madrid Open last 16 on Sunday.

The Kazakh, who has a tour-leading three titles this season after triumphing in Stuttgart last week, broke twice in the first set to move 5-0 ahead on the Spanish clay.

Although Sherif battled harder in the second set, surviving four match points to hold for 5-4 down, Rybakina clinched the victory on serve at the Caja Magica.

"Despite the score, it was a very tough match," said Rybakina, who has the best record on the tour this season with 28 wins.

"It was a lot of deuces and we both fought a lot ā€“ I'm really happy with the performance today."

Rybakina will face teenager Sara Bejlek in the next round after the Czech defeated American Ashlyn Krueger 6-3, 6-1.

"I've never played against a player like this," said the 18-year-old. "I will try my best and we'll see how it will go tomorrow."

Women's world number two  Aryna Sabalenka scraped past plucky 19-year-old Montgomery 6-1, 6-7 (5/7), 6-4 in a two-and-a-half hour tussle.

The big-hitting Belarusian started her Madrid title defence slowly in the second round with a three-set win over Magda Linette and again was tested after claiming the first set easily.

Sabalenka broke twice for a 5-1 lead against Montgomery, who steeled herself and battled well in the final game, saving three set points before Sabalenka sealed it.

The American hit two aces to hold in the first game of the second set, showing she would not roll over for the two-time Grand Slam champion.

Sabalenka survived two set points in the gripping tie-break before 183rd-ranked Montgomery forced a decider.

The 25-year-old Australian Open champion broke in the second game but Montgomery hit back immediately.

Sabalenka brought up three match points in the 10th and final game, taking the first when Montgomery pushed a shot into the net.

"I'm super happy with the win, she played unbelievable tennis," said Sabalenka on court.

"I expected something like that, she's young, I saw her games and I was prepared for a great battle."

Mirra Andreeva defeated Wimbledon champion Marketa Vondrousova 7-5, 6-1 to return to the last 16 for the second year running.

The 16-year-old Russian won 25 points to nine in the second set against the world No 7 from the Czech Republic.