Victoria Azarenka produced a masterclass on centre court at the Italian Open to knock out Australian Open champion champion Sofia Kenin with a dominant 6-0 6-0 victory in the second round on Thursday.
Azarenka, who lost the US Open final in New York on Saturday and flew in to Rome to beat Venus Williams in a two-hour first-round match on Wednesday, needed only an hour to dispatch the American third seed.
Kenin, who received a bye into the second round, had no answers to Azarenka’s consistency from the baseline and made a string of errors, finishing the match with 22 unforced errors while Azarenka made only four.
Kenin did not create a single opportunity to break the 31-year-old Belarusian while Azarenka won an overwhelming 89 per cent of her first serve points at the Foro Italico while converting six of 11 break points.
The former world No.1 will now face Russian Daria Kasatkina after she triumphed 6-2 6-3 against Czech Katerina Siniakova.
Earlier, Garbine Muguruza made it through to the last-16 following the Spaniard’s 7-6 (7-3) 3-6 6-3 win against 16-year-old US player Coco Gauff.
Even Muguruza had a nervous start as she conceded a 3-1 lead with a double fault in the first set, but the 2016 French Open champion rallied to break back immediately and eventually forced a tie-break.
The world No. 17 then reeled off four straight points to edge a hard-fought first frame.
Gauff raced through the second set but the teenager dropped serve in the third to trail 4-2.
A netted return after another error-strewn service game at 5-3 handed Muguruza the match after two hours 27 minutes.
Muguruza will play Johanna Konta next after the Briton swept aside Romania’s Irina-Camelia Begu 6-0 6-4.
Also in the women’s tournament, another Russian in Svetlana Kuznetsova progressed to Friday’s third round.
The two-time grand slam champion battled back from a set behind to overcome Estonia’s Anett Kontaveit 4-6 7-5 6-3.