Melbourne: A dominant fifth seed Aryna Sabalenka was humming along smoothly in 2023 with American Shelby Rogers a 6-3 6-1 second-round victim at the Australian Open on Thursday.

Flustered early at her inability to convert on break point chances, Sabalenka quickly brushed off the setback and set about reeling in a 1-3 deficit.

Serving improvements aside, Sabalenka admitted she had worked hard to better maintain her composure last season and it came to the fore against the American.

Playing the match increasingly on her terms, Sabalenka’s firepower was no less impressive, despite her move to more controlled aggression, as she reeled off five straight games for the opening set.

The relentless pressure she applied when hugging the baseline was telling.

She prised open the match with a double break when Rogers hit a third double fault, and a fourth two games later off the American’s strings set Sabalenka up to close out the 87-minute affair on her 32nd winner.

Saalenka has conceded just nine games to reach the third round for the third straight year. She will face Elise Mertens – the Belgian with whom she won the Australian Open women’s doubles trophy two years ago.

“It’s going to be a great battle either way,” Sabalenka said. “I’ve played a lot of matches against Mertens and it was always tough battles against Davis,”she said.