Madrid: Aryna Sabalenka avoids shock loss versus world No. 183 in tight 3R battle

Sabalenka edged out Robin Montgomery in three sets to reach the Madrid round-of-16.

by Dzevad Mesic
Madrid: Aryna Sabalenka avoids shock loss versus world No. 183 in tight 3R battle
© Getty Images Sport - Julian Finney

Aryna Sabalenka survived a scare in the Madrid third round as the second-seeded Belarusian found herself in a tight battle versus Robin Montgomery before sealing a 6-1 6-7 (5) 6-4 win over the American ranked at No. 183 in the world.

Although Sabalenka hasn't been playing well since the Australian Open, she still entered the Montgomery match as the huge favorite. When the match started, Sabalenka was dominating Montgomery and it looked like the Belarusian would seal a pretty convincing win. But then, Sabalenka lost the second set and was in a tight third-set battle before sealing a win in two and a half hours of play.

Aryna Sabalenka and Robin Montgomery
Aryna Sabalenka and Robin Montgomery © Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill

Now, Sabalenka is set for a tough round-of-16 test as she plays next against recent Miami champion and No. 13 seed Danielle Collins. 

How Sabalenka beat Montgomery to set up a Collins match?

At the start of the match, Sabalenka saved two break points in the opening game before breaking Montgomery in the second game. Up by a break, Sabalenka broke Montgomery again in the sixth game for a 5-1 lead before serving out for the opener in the following game.

After easily losing the first set, Montgomery drastically improved in the second set and she saved the lone break points of the set in the seventh game - when she saved two break points. As no breaks were seen, the second set had to be resolved in a tie-break, where Montgomery opened a 6-3 lead before realizing her third set point to send the match into a decider.

When the third set started, Sabalenka bounced back by breaking Montgomery for an early 2-0 lead. But then, Sabalenka got instantly broken back in the third game. 

Aryna Sabalenka
Aryna Sabalenka © Getty Images Sport - Julian Finney

In the next six games, not a single break point was seen. Then in the 10th game - when Montgomery was serving to stay in the match - Sabalenka broke the American after realizing her first match point to complete a three-set win and avoid a shock loss.

Aryna Sabalenka