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Rublev beats Thiem in 1st round at Australian Open

2023 Australian Open - Day 2

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 17: Andrey Rublev plays a backhand in their round one singles match against Dominic Thiem of Austria during day two of the 2023 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 17, 2023 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Will Murray/Getty Images)

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MELBOURNE, Australia - Andrey Rublev beat wild-card entry Dominic Thiem 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 to book his place in the second round of the Australian Open.

Thiem, a runner-up at the Australian Open in 2020 and the U.S. Open winner the same year, missed much of 2021 due to injuries but has recovered from outside the top 350 last year to a place just inside the top 100. He was given a wild-card entry by tournament organizers.

“When you see you have to play against Dominic you know it’s not going to be easy. I know he’s going through some not easy times so I wish him all the best to come back to the level he can be as fast as possible,” Rublev said.

Rublev will now play either the Australian qualifier Max Purcell or Emil Ruusuvuori of Finland.

No. 5 Aryna Sabalenka maintained her unbeaten start to the year with a 6-1, 6-4 win over Tereza Martincova. Sabalenka, who won the Adelaide International title in the first week of the year, hit 29 winners to her opponent’s seven as she won her fifth consecutive match.

“It wasn’t that easy, I’m super-happy to start with the win,” said Sabalenka, who will play American Shelby Rogers in the second round. “I have to work on my mindset and stay calm and not get too upset when I make mistakes. I really believe this is the only thing missing in my game.”

Sabalenka, who has yet to win a Grand Slam singles title, hasn’t made it past the fourth round at the Australian Open in five previous visits.

Garbine Muguruza, the runner-up in Melbourne in 2020, lost her fifth consecutive match to start the year when she was beaten 3-6, 6-7 (3), 6-1 by Elise Mertens.

Two-time Grand Slam champion Muguruza served for the match at 6-5 in the second set.

Taylor Townsend won her first Grand Slam match since becoming a mother, beating Diane Parry, a wild-card entry from France, 6-1, 6-1. The American will next meet Ekaterina Alexandrova.

Leylah Fernandez, the former U.S. Open runner-up, beat Alize Cornet 7-5, 6-2. Martina Trevisan, seeded 21st, was beaten 6-3, 6-2 by qualifier Anna Karolina Schmiedlova.