Azarenka eases past Osaka

A loss of serve in the opening game appeared to suggest that Victoria Azarenka was in for a tough time of it in her third round clash with Naomi Osaka, but quite the opposite proved to be the case.

Osaka, playing in her first grand slam, showed few nerves as she went 1-0 up, but a great display of power tennis ensured that the 14th-seeded Azarenka cruised to a 6-1, 6-1 victory on Rod Laver Arena in under an hour.

The Japanese teenager won the first four points of the match to break the two-time Australian Open champion, but she immediately struggled with her serve and Azarenka broke straight back.

The remainder of the set was something of a blur as Azarenka reeled off another five straight games to take the set 6-1.

The second set followed a similar pattern, with Osaka securing just 27 percent of points on her own serve while failing to register a winner.

Conversely, Azarenka was solid on serve while breaking the qualifier three times to wrap up the set in 29 minutes, and with it the match.

Azarenka will meet Barbora Strycova in the fourth round after the Czech shocked third seed Garbiñe Muguruza.

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