(Madrid) Russian teenager Mirra Andreeva has found the perfect way to celebrate her 16th birthday; she continued her unexpected breakthrough at the Madrid Tennis Open with a straight-set win over Poland’s Magda Linette on Saturday.

Andreeva raised her arms after winning a long rally that ended in a fourth break of serve that secured her the deciding point in her 6-3, 6-3 victory.

Australian Open semi-finalist Linette has become the latest victim of the rising Russian youngster.

Earlier this week, when she was still just 15, Andreeva stunned 2021 U.S. Open runner-up Leylah Fernandez from Quebec to become the third-youngest player to win a main-draw match. a WTA 1000 tournament.

She followed that up by defeating World No. 14 Beatriz Haddad Maia 7-6(6), 6-3.

His next challenge? Nothing less than the number two in the world, Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka in the round of 16.

“I didn’t expect to be here and play against Sabalenka in the round of 16,” admitted Andreeva.

“I’m not really surprised at my level [of play] because I know I can play on the court. But of course, I didn’t expect to be here and make it this far. »

Earlier Saturday, Sabalenka opened her tournament with a straight-set 6-4, 7-5 win over Camila Osorio.

Australian Open champion last January, Sabalenka is trying to win the Madrid Open for the second time after her three-set triumph over Australian Ashleigh Barty in 2021.

Sabalenka was in control for most of the clash, except for a slump in her game after Osorio called for a medical time-out as the Colombian fell 1-4 at the second set.

Sabalenka struggled with her serve but was able to pull herself together and win the match.

Later on Saturday, Paula Badosa of Spain gave her fans what they had been hoping to see, a win, when she edged sixth-seeded American Coco Gauff 6-3, 6-0.

Romania’s Irina-Camelia Begu, Belgium’s Élise Mertens and Russia’s Liudmila Samsonova also won their respective matches in straight sets on Saturday.

On the men’s side, Russia’s Daniil Medvedev advanced to the third round on Saturday with a 6-4, 6-3 victory over Italy’s Andrea Vavassori in his first match of the tournament.

The second seed and third in the ATP rankings, Medvedev dominates the men’s circuit in 2023 with four titles, all won on hard courts. He’s posted a 32-4 overall record since the start of the season.

Medvedev is seen as the main contender to overcome reigning champion Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz. Alcaraz had to fight hard on Friday to win their first match of the tournament, in three sets against Emil Ruusuvuori.

However, Medvedev is weighing his expectations as he is aware that clay is not his preferred surface.

“As always, I will do my best,” Medvedev said. “Today I felt very good on the court, and in the rallies I was in control which is very important on clay. »

Ranked 164th in the world, Vavassori had surprised Britain’s Andy Murray in the previous round.

The Italian offered quality play early in the game and forced Medvedev to save three break points. However, the former US Open champion took control of the clash by breaking the last game serving his rival in the opening set.

The duel was briefly interrupted by a downpour, which was welcomed in Madrid which, like other cities in Spain, is mired in a deep drought.

In the next round, Medvedev will face qualifier Alexander Shevchenko, who eliminated Jiri Lehecka 6-1, 6-1.

In addition, two Americans were shown the way out in the second round. Ben Shelton, 38th in the world, first lost in three sets against the German Jan-Lennard Struff (65th), 4-6, 7-6 (4), 7-5. Later, Tommy Paul (17th) lost in straight sets, 6-3, 7-6 (3) against Russian Roman Safiullin, ranked 112th in the ATP.

Two other Americans, Taylor Fritz and Frances Tiafoe, had more success and reached the next round, as did Australian Alex de Minaur.