No. 2 seed Aryna Sabalenka took a step toward her second career Grand Slam title with a 6-3, 6-2 victory over Jodie Burrage of Great Britain at the U.S. Open in New York on Thursday.
The Belarusian posted the second-round win in 76 minutes behind seven aces and a 93 percent first-serve win percentage. She converted three of four break chances and hit 28 winners and 22 unforced errors, compared to seven and 11, respectively, for Burrage.
In the third round, Sabalenka will face Clara Burel of France, who eliminated Czech Karolina Pliskova, the No. 25 seed, 6-4, 6-2. Sabalaneka will be looking to bookend her season with Grand Slam victories, winning 2023's first major at the Australian Open and seeking the title in New York at the season's final major.
A win at the U.S. Open also would vault Sabalenka to No. 1 in the world rankings, displacing Iga Swiatek of Poland. In a pre-tournament news conference, Sabalenka said she wasn't being driven by the rankings.
"I'm focusing on myself more than on the ranking," she said. "I'm trying to shift my focus on myself, on my game, and on improving myself."
Three other seeded women were in early second-round action on Thursday, all winners.
No. 14 Liudmila Samsonova of Russia defeated German Tamara Korpatsch 6-3, 6-3; No. 22 Ekaterina Alexandrova of Russia ousted Lesia Tsurenko of Ukraine 6-1, 6-3; and No. 23 Qinwen Zheng of China topped Kaia Kanepi of Estonia 6-2, 3-6, 6-2.
Other winners were Italian Lucia Bronzetti, American Peyton Stearns and Brit Katie Boulter.
—Field Level Media