Second seed Aryna Sabalenka marched into the fourth round at Wimbledon with a routine 6-2 6-3 victory over Anna Blinkova.
Australian Open winner Sabalenka needed three sets to overcome Varvara Gracheva in a trick tie on Friday but 24 hours later remained in total control against her Moscow-born opponent.
Sabalenka, part of the unofficial ‘big three’ in women’s tennis alongside defending champion Elena Rybakina and world number one Iga Swiatek, finished the match with consecutive aces and hit 30 winners to stay on course to reach the last-four of a fourth successive grand slam.
Both players missed Wimbledon last year after Russian and Belarusian players were banned due to the Ukraine war, but Sabalenka had shown her potential on grass in 2021 with a semi-final showing and quickly set about making the last-16.
There were aces and backhand winners aplenty for the world number two during a first set on Court One that lasted 31 minutes and contained three breaks for the right-hander.
Blinkova had struggled with her serve, but the harsh reality was she could not handle Sabalenka’s relentless hitting.
An early break for the Russian in the second was wiped out instantly with a crunching forehand return by Sabalenka, who had to be at her best to hold during a 14-minute seventh game.
Victory in 81 minutes was sealed with back-to-back aces to send the 25-year-old into the second week of Wimbledon once again.
“I think it was definitely better tennis than yesterday the first set,” Sabalenka said in her on-court interview.
“It was tough, she played really well, tough end to the match and super happy with this win.
“It was like a nightmare that (seventh) game. Somehow I managed to finish that game with a win, but yeah it was crazy.
“A crazy game. Super happy I was able to handle myself in that situation.”
Sabalenka will face another Russian in round four after 21st seed Ekaterina Alexandrova was the first female winner on day six with a 6-0 6-4 victory over Dalma Galfi on Court 18.
The wet weather disrupted some of the early play on Saturday but Brazil’s Beatriz Haddad Maia beat the rain to down Sorana Cirstea 6-2 6-2 on Court Three before a suspension meant there was no time for an on-court interview.
When play did resume in SW19, two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova finished the run of qualifier Natalija Stevanovic in straight sets.