Two-time Grand Slam winner Victoria Azarenka, who has reached three US Open finals, advanced to Round 3 at Flushing Meadows on Thursday, defeating Ukraine’s Marta Kostyuk in straight sets.
The 26th seed and former world No. 1 Azarenka started Thursday’s play on Court 17 with a 6-2, 6-3 win.
The 88-minute victory was in stark contrast to Azarenka’s Round 1 victory over American teenager Ashlyn Kruger on Tuesday. In that match, she built her 6-1, 4-1 lead, but she needed to win 3, 6-1, 4-6, 6-2.
Azarenka, who also won the Australian Open in 2012 and 2013, excelled on sunny hard courts. Kostyuk hit more winners (23 to 13), but also unforced her error total (31 to 15). The stable Azarenka broke Kostyuk’s serve five times to win six straight games from the first 4-2.
Azarenka made her 13th Round 3 appearance in New York in 15 appearances. Azarenka was the only remaining major winner in the second quarter of the women’s draw, which also featured Naomi Osaka, Venus Williams, Emma Radukhanu and Jelena Ryvakina when the event began.
Azarenka’s next opponent could be fourth-seeded Paula Vadosa, who faces Petra Martic on Thursday.
Also included in this section of the draw is 2016 US Open finalist and No. 22 seed, former World No. 1 Karolina Pliskova. No. 19 seed Daniel Collins is an Australian Open finalist. Sixth seed Alina Sabalenka. Also in contention is French veteran woman Alize Cornet. She scored her 63rd main draw at a Grand Slam, beating Radukhanu in round one.
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