MINSK, 28 August (BelTA) – Aryna Sabalenka (World No. 13) and her countrywoman Victoria Azarenka, ranked 41 in the world, went head-to-head for the first time in an all-Belarusian first-round clash under the Louis Armstrong Stadium lights at the US Open, BelTA has learned.
At first the more experienced Azarenka took the lead to claim the opening set 6-3. She pressed ahead 2-0 early in the second set before her compatriot caught fire, reversing the deficit and making it 6-3. In the deciding set Azarenka held on, but was overpowered by Sabalenka who eventually progressed into the second round. The tense match lasted 2h15. In the second round she will face Russia's Yulia Putintseva, ranked 39, who cruised past American Madison Brengle earlier.
World number 46 Aliaksandra Sasnovich was the first Belarusian to make it to the second round after defeating World No. 67 Jennifer Brady of the United States 6-1, 4-6, 6-0, to book her next match against Tunisia's world number 62 Ons Jabeur. The Belarusian is taking part in the tournament for the sixth time. Last year she reached the third round.
Two Belarusian players qualified for the US Open main draw coming through three qualifying rounds in the men's singles event. World number 129 Egor Gerasimov defeated World No.100 Lloyd Harris of South Africa 7-5, 7-6, 7-6 in the first round. He will go head-to-head with Argentina's Diego Sebastian Schwartzman (World No. 21).
Ilya Ivashka (World No.144) lost to Australia's world number 203 Thanasi Kokkinakis 3:6, 6:7, 7:6, 2:6.
The total prize money at the 2019 US Open is $57.2 million. Winners in the men's and women's singles events will make a record $3.85 million each. The tournament is held on the Flushing Meadows courts from 26 August to 8 September.