Aryna Sabalenka overcame a spirited effort by qualifier Iryna Shymanovich in the second round of Roland Garros on Wednesday, with No.2 seed Sabalenka prevailing 7-5, 6-2 on Court Suzanne Lenglen.

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Sabalenka gritted through a closely-contested opening set before defeating 214th-ranked Shymanovich after 1 hour and 27 minutes of play. With the win, reigning Australian Open champion Sabalenka improved to 9-0 at the Grand Slams this year.

"Super happy to get this win," Sabalenka said afterwards. "I think the first set I didn't play my best, and I'm super happy that no matter what I was able to stay calm and I was able to fight for every point to get this win." 

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Another step forward: Sabalenka could potentially wrest the World No.1 ranking from Iga Swiatek during this fortnight, which would be her first appearance at the summit of the WTA singles rankings. Sabalenka is currently No.1 in the Race to the WTA Finals.

This marks Sabalenka's fourth straight trip to the third round at the French Open, but the World No.2 has yet to progress beyond that stage in Paris. It is the only major where Sabalenka has not reached the semifinals or better.

Sabalenka, who will be featured in Part 2 of Netflix's Break Point, will try to make the Round of 16 of the clay-court major for the first time when she next faces Kamilla Rakhimova on Friday. Rakhimova beat Magdalena Frech 6-3, 6-4 on Wednesday.

Photo by Jimmie48/WTA

Match moments: On Wednesday, Sabalenka saw an early break slip away as Shymanovich drew the No.2 seed into a first-set tussle. Sabalenka finally took charge by winning an 11-minute, seven-deuce game to break for the one-set lead.

The second set was more straightforward as Sabalenka closed out her tour-leading 31st match-win of the year. Sabalenka finished the match with 21 winners to Shymanovich's 13.

Shymanovich breakthrough ends: A tournament of firsts for 25-year-old Shymanovich comes to a close after her respectable showing against one of the world's best players.

Shymanovich, a former World No.2 on the junior circuit, cracked the Top 200 for the first time this year. She contested the first Grand Slam qualifying event of her career last week in Paris, and she successfully made it through to make her Grand Slam main-draw debut.

Roland Garros 2023's Grand Slam debuts: Mirra Andreeva, Shymanovich, Waltert

In the opening round, Shymanovich beat Panna Udvardy to grab her first career win over a player currently ranked inside the Top 100. Shymanovich's run was ended by Sabalenka, in the qualifier's first career match against a Top 40 player.