- The start of the season has not been good but I am so happy about this win and I heard some cheering on me, says Sabalenka in Eurosport's broadcast.

It was a nice turnaround.

She ended the match with three serve aces, one of the factors that has gone wrong in recent months.

- I do not know how it went, felt like I was already in the locker room.

I stopped thinking and just played on and tried to get pressure on the ball.

I have had such big problems with the serve and my team has told me to try to trust it, that I would trust the muscle memory, says Sabalenka.

When Sanders went up to 7-5 and had positions for both 4-1 and 4-2, the home crowd in Melbourne smelled a bang.

But Sabalenka, who fell in the first round of the two preparatory Adelaide tournaments (once against Rebecca Peterson), teamed up at 1-3 in the second set and won nine straight games against doubles specialist Sanders, who never won a single match in a Grand Slam.