Australian Open 2019: Dark horse Aryna Sabalenka sweeps past Katie Boulter; in-form Petra Kvitova enters third round

  • Bookies have installed the 20-year-old as one of the favourites in Melbourne on the back of sizzling recent form

  • Sabalenka has previously dismissed title talk as crazy and said she was not looking beyond her next match against unseeded Amanda Anisimova

  • Two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova cruised into the Australian Open third round

Melbourne: Tournament dark horse Aryna Sabalenka continued to talk down her Australian Open chances as she advanced to the third round on Wednesday, preferring to knuckle down and concentrate on her next match.

 Australian Open 2019: Dark horse Aryna Sabalenka sweeps past Katie Boulter; in-form Petra Kvitova enters third round

Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus reacts during second round match against Britain's Katie Boulter at the Australian Open. AP

The 11th seed's only previous appearance at Melbourne Park last year ended in a first-round elimination but the Belarusian swept past Britain's Katie Boulter 6-3, 6-4 to show how much she has improved in the past 12 months.

Bookies have installed the 20-year-old as one of the favourites in Melbourne on the back of sizzling recent form which saw her beat eight top-10 players late last season and win a title in Shenzhen this month.

The 20-year-old has previously dismissed title talk as "crazy" and said on Wednesday she was not looking beyond her next match against unseeded American teenager Amanda Anisimova, an opponent she has never faced before.

"I just focus on each match. I just go match by match and we'll see. I'll do my best and who knows what will happen," she said.

"I just try to do better every match, improve all things and work harder. That's enough."

In-form Kvitova steams into Open third round

Two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova cruised into the Australian Open third round, with her vanquished opponent Irina-Camelia Begu tipping the Czech eighth seed for the title.

Kvitova never looked troubled as she downed Begu 6-1, 6-3 in 69 minutes.

"If you're gonna play like that you're gonna win it," the Romanian said as she congratulated Kvitova at the net.

The 28-year-old has been in strong form leading into the season-opening Grand Slam, winning last week's Sydney International.

Kvitova, whose best result at Melbourne Park was a run to the semi-finals in 2012, will meet Belinda Bencic of Switzerland next.

Updated Date: Jan 16, 2019 15:02:11 IST