Ash Barty and Naomi Osaka continued on their path to a fourth-round collision Wednesday, each handedly defeating their second-round opponents at the Australian Open.
Osaka took down world No. 54 Madison Brengle in straight sets, 6-0, 6-4, after conceding only nine points in the first set, which lasted just 20 minutes. In total, the defending champion finished with 37 winners and 32 unforced errors.
In the third round, Osaka will face 20-year-old American Amanda Anisimova for the first time in their careers. Earlier in the day, Anisimova defeated Olympic gold medalist Belinda Bencic 6-2, 7-5.
“I like her game a lot,” Anisimova said when asked about playing Osaka. “I like watching her play. I think our personalities are a little bit similar in terms of composure and trying to be the quiet players on tour.
“I’m also a pretty aggressive player, so I just want to see how our games will match up.”
The winner of that match will most likely meet Ash Barty, who is continuing to tear up the court.
It took the world No. 1 just 52 minutes to beat second-round opponent and qualifier Lucia Bronzetti 6-1, 6-1. It’s the second straight match Barty has won in under an hour after taking down first-round opponent Lesia Tsurenko in 54 minutes.
Afterward, Barty said it was special to play on the same day the tournament celebrated its inaugural First Nations Day, dedicated to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people of Australia.
“It was nice for me to be a part of it in a way that I feel most comfortable,” said Barty, who has Indigenous heritage. “Out on the tennis court is how I express myself as an athlete. It’s how I’m able to express myself as a person as well.
“On a day we’re bringing cultures together, bringing people together … it was great for me to be able to play a small role doing what I love.”
Barty will next face Camilla Giorgi in the third round on Thursday.
Elsewhere at Melbourne Park, fourth-seeded Barbora Krejcikova advanced to a third-round match against No. 26 Jelena Ostapenko. Joining her in the third round are No. 5 Maria Sakkari, No. 8 Paula Badosa and No. 15 Elina Svitolina. Svitolina will next play two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka.