WATCH: Aryna Sabalenka defeats Elise Mertens in the 2023 Australian Open third round


New year, new calm and collected Aryna Sabalenka—at least on the tennis court.

The world No. 5 continued her serene progress Down Under with another confident straight-sets victory at the Australian Open, this time against good friend and regular doubles partner Elise Mertens. Sabalenka showed no mercy in her 6-2, 6-3 victory over the No. 26 seed, and didn’t let her famously fiery emotions take over as she moved into the fourth round.

“I think there was a few moments when I was about to throw my racquet or scream something,” Sabalenka said in the post-match press conference. “And because I hold myself really strong in [those] moments, after that, right now I feel like it's a little bit more natural right now.”

Serene Sabalenka is 7-0 on the season—and 14-0 in sets—so far in this season.

Serene Sabalenka is 7-0 on the season—and 14-0 in sets—so far in this season.

How does the Belarusian describe her newfound mental focus? The goal, she says, is to just “be boring” on court during matches:

Q. You mentioned in Adelaide that you were going to be “boring” now… just keeping things very calm on the court. How does it feel to play that way and be able to maintain your calm and make the second week here?

ARYNA SABALENKA: It feels like I wish I would be like that few years ago, you know, (smiling). Finally I understand what everyone was looking for and asking for.

Yeah, as I said, I need to be a little bit boring on court. I mean, it's still about a lot of positive emotions for me. But I'm trying to stay away from negative and just fight for every point.

So far, being “boring” is paying off for Sabalenka, who has enjoyed a red-hot start to the season in Australia.


The 24-year-old closed out 2022 by reaching the WTA Finals’ championship match, and has picked up where she left off in the new year. She has already won seven matches in a row—including a victory at the WTA 500-level event in Adelaide, her first title in two years.

Coming in as a tournament favorite, No. 12 seed Sabalenka has continued her fearsome form in Melbourne, where she won 6-1, 6-4 against Tereza Martincova, dismissed Shelby Rogers 6-3, 6-1 and raced past Mertens in two.

She will take on No. 12 seed Belinda Bencic next, as she seeks her first Australian Open quarterfinal appearance.