Victoria Azarenka
Victoria Azarenka reached at least the fourth round at the Australian Open in eight consecutive years between 2009 and 2016
Dates: 17-30 January Venue: Melbourne Park
Coverage: Daily radio commentaries on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra, BBC Sport website and app, with selected live text commentaries online; TV highlights from middle Saturday.

Two-time champion Victoria Azarenka brushed aside Elina Svitolina to reach the Australian Open fourth round for the first time since 2016.

The Belarusian world number 25, champion in Melbourne in 2012 and 2013, won 6-0 6-2 against the Ukrainian 15th seed.

Azarenka will now play French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova.

Czech Krejcikova, seeded fourth, came from behind to beat Latvia’s Jelena Ostapenko 2-6 6-4 6-4.

Australia’s world number one Ashleigh Barty is in action against Italy’s Camila Giorgi from 08:00 GMT on Friday.

Defending champion Naomi Osaka also features in the night session at Melbourne Park, taking on American Amanda Anisimova.

Elsewhere, Greek fifth seed Maria Sakkari recorded a 6-4 6-1 victory over Russia’s Veronika Kudermetova and will now play American Jessica Pegula.

Spanish eighth seed Paula Badosa overcame Ukrainian teenager Marta Kostyuk in three sets, prevailing 6-2 5-7 6-4.

Next for Badosa is American Madison Keys, who survived a final-set tie-break to get past Wang Qiang, 4-6 6-3 7-6 (10-2).

Azarenka trying to stay ‘in the moment’

Azarenka needed just one hour and seven minutes on Rod Laver Arena to end former world number four Svitolina’s challenge.

The 32-year-old, seeded 24th, made her intentions clear with a break of serve in the opening game and dominated from there, eventually converting her sixth match point.

After reaching at least the fourth round in Melbourne in eight consecutive years between 2009 and 2016, she only played the tournament twice between 2017 and 2021, losing in the first round in 2019 and last year.

The former world number one, who was joined by her son, Leo, in her post-match news conference, said: “I try to take it day by day. That mentality, to stay in the present, continue to do what I can in the moment.

“That’s really what I’m trying to say – that ladder I want to climb step by step. I think the danger is to try to skip a few steps. That’s something I’m actually learning not to do. That’s been helpful.”

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