Aryna Sabalenka schools Madrid Open upstart in winning mentality

Aryna Sabalenka during a match

Aryna Sabalenka handed a tough lesson teenage sensation Mirra Andreeva in Madrid on Monday as she surged to a dominant 6-3, 6-1 victory over the wildcard.

Sabalenka dropped just four games as she pushed past the in-form youngster and it seems that she had been paying attention to what the 16-year-old has had to say.

Coming into the match Andreeva claimed that she wasn’t feeling any pressure to perform and Sabalenka has informed her that she might be off kilter in her thinking.

“I didn’t expect to be here and playing Sabalenka in the Round of 16,” Andreeva told the Tennis Channel.

“I’m not really surprised with my level, because I know the way I can play on the court but of course, I didn’t expect to be here and go this far.

“I have nothing to lose. I just have to go there and show the best tennis I can. There is no pressure at all for me. There is some pressure on her, I think, because she’s going to play a 16-year-old girl. Most probably, we will play on some stadium, so I’m excited to do that,” Andreeva said.

Sabalenka insists that if you want to be a top player then there is always pressure when you walk out on court.

She added that there were clear signs that her opponent was in fact under pressure during their clash.

“I don’t believe that she had no pressure, and today I felt on the court that she actually had a little pressure,” Sabalenka said.

“There’s always pressure on the match court.’

“If she wants to be a top player, there is something to lose. There is always pressure on both of us, and I think she’s had to deal with pressure.” She added.

Sabalenka was once a bright young thing bursting onto the scene and she noted that there is a big difference between where she is today and where she was when she first touched down in Madrid.

“It’s a huge difference, I think I’m just a different person right now and much calmer. I’m able to focus on myself more than before and don’t get distracted because of whatever happens,” she explained.

Sabalenka faces Egyptian trailblazer Mayar Sherif in the next round of competition and is wary of the quality she has already displayed during her run to the fourth round.

“She’s already beaten a lot of good players and is playing really well on clay. I’m looking forward to this match and I will prepare myself as good as I can,” Sabalenka commented.

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