The second-ranked Belarusian made light work of home favourite Shelby Rogers, wrapping up a 6-4, 6-3 win in 77 minutes. After taking the first set comfortably, Sabalenka called a medical timeout for her left leg after being broken in the first game of the second set. However, she was able to recover to claim successive breaks to wrap up the straight sets win, and said after the match the injury should not cause her any trouble going forward.
"For now I feel fine. I will try to fix this problem and be ready for the next match. It was definitely a tough match. Super happy that even if I was struggling with my leg a little bit I was able to finish the match in two sets."
Fresh from her maiden Grand Slam title at the Australian Open, Sabalenka now has to find new goals to target, and becoming the World No 1 is definitely on that list. "It was an amazing moment, but time to move on," she said. "It's another tournament, it wasn't the only one goal. "Of course I want to be No.1. Of course I want to win more Grand Slams, which is normal. I think every one of us, everyone wants to do that. Probably that's why it helped me to stay focused and helped me to keep working and just keep doing my best every day." Elsewhere in the women's draw, there were a couple of big upsets as fourth seed Caroline Garcia and fifth seed Ons Jabeur both made early exits. Garcia was beaten 6-2 6-3 by Sorana Cirstea, while Jabeur was a shock loser against qualifier Varvara Gracheva, who clinched her first ever victory over a top-five opponent. "The plan was, of course like all matches, to be as stable as possible, to try to make her work as much points as possible, and of course wait for comfortable ones to attack," Gracheva said on court, after her win. Jabeur, who reached two Grand Slam singles finals last season, has only played three matches since the Australian Open in January, as she continues her comeback from a knee injury. In other results, ninth seed Belinda Bencic dropped just two games to beat 2021 US Open finalist Leylah Fernandez and book her place in the third round.
— wta (@WTA) March 25, 2023
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