Aryna Sabalenka first since Serena Williams to achieve this Australian Open feat



by DZEVAD MESIC

Aryna Sabalenka first since Serena Williams to achieve this Australian Open feat
© Getty Images Sport - Phil Walter

Defending Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka has emulated a Serena Williams feat, becoming the first player since the American tennis icon to win 11 consecutive matches at Melbourne Park. 

Sabalenka, 25, won seven matches at Melbourne Park last year to win her first Grand Slam title. So far in her return to the Australian Open as the defending champion, Sabalenka has had four straight-set wins so far. 

On Sunday, No. 2 seed Sabalenka crushed Amanda Anisimova 6-3 6-2 to reach the Australian Open quarterfinal. Now, Sabalenka has won her last 11 matches played at Melbourne Park, dating from last year.

Aryna Sabalenka
Aryna Sabalenka© Getty Images Sport - Darrian Traynor
 

The last player to win 11 consecutive matches at the Australian Open was Williams, who achieved the feat between 2017 and 2019. After winning her 23rd Australian Open title in 2017, Williams didn't defend her title the following year but made the quarterfinal in her return to Melbourne Park in 2019.

How Sabalenka beat Anisimova for her 11th consecutive Australian Open win?

Sabalenka made a strong start against Anisimova, earning an early break for a 3-0 lead. Up 3-0, Sabalenka had a chance to open a double-break lead but missed out on a break point in the fourth game. However, it didn't negatively impact Sabalenka or whatsoever as one break of serve was enough for the Belarusian to win the opening set.

After winning the first set, Sabalenka also broke Anisimova in the very first game of the second set. Six games later, Sabalenka earned her third break of the match to take a 5-2 lead before serving out for the match in the following game.

Aryna Sabalenka and Amanda Anisimova
Aryna Sabalenka and Amanda Anisimova© Getty Images Sport - Phil Walter
 

In her next match, Sabalenka plays against 2021 French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova. When Sabalenka and 28-year-old Krejcikova meet, it is going to be their seventh meeting. 

Going into the match, Sabalenka owns a 5-1 head-to-head against Krejcikova. Considering her current form, there is no doubt that Sabalenka is again the favorite to beat Krejcikova.

Aryna Sabalenka Serena Williams Australian Open