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Belarus's Aryna Sabalenka returns to USA's Sofia Kenin during their women’s singles match of the China Open in Beijing on Sunday. Image Credit: AFP

Beijing: Carlos Alcaraz breezed into the China Open men’s quarter-finals with a routine 6-2, 6-2 victory over Italy’s Lorenzo Musetti on Sunday. The world No 2 overpowered Musetti and seized the first set when he forced his opponent to whack a baseline backhand into the net.

The Spaniard then broke serve twice in the second set and saw out a comfortable match with an unreturned serve.

He will face Casper Ruud in the next round after the world number nine came back to beat Argentina’s Tomas Etcheverry 1-6, 7-5, 7-6 (9-7).

World No 1 Aryna Sabalenka earlier sailed into the second round of the women’s draw with an imperious 6-1, 6-2 defeat of American Sofia Kenin.

The Belarusian pummelled Kenin with a succession of mighty serves and groundstrokes and wrapped up the opening set with an ace after just 23 minutes.

The 25-year-old broke serve twice more in the second set as Kenin - playing with heavy strapping on her left thigh - failed to muster a response.

Super hyped

Sabalenka sealed the match with yet another unreturned serve to set up a tie against either Magdalena Frech or Katie Boulter in the next round.

“Honestly, I didn’t expect to play that good on my serve - in practice, it didn’t work very well,” Sabalenka said at a post-match news briefing.

“But I was super hyped that I was able to bring that level on my serve today. I think it helped a lot,” she said.

“I think that was the key of today’s match.”

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Spain's Carlos Alcaraz powers a backhand return to Italy's Lorenzo Musetti in their men's singles match during the China Open on Sunday Image Credit: AFP

Zero-Covid policies

The China Open is taking place for the first time since 2019 after Beijing ended its isolationist zero-Covid policies.

Seven of the men’s top eight are in action, as are all eight of the women’s highest-ranked players.

The women’s tournament is also the first since its global governing body ended a boycott of China this year.

The embargo had been declared after Chinese player Peng Shuai made sexual assault accusations against a top government official.