MELBOURNE—It seemed the defending champion got the easier side of tournament play. The two-time defending champion won her 16th straight Australian Open match 6-1, 6-4 over Czech Republic’s Barbora Zahlavova-Strycova on Friday night.

After having trouble in the first round over Sweden’s Johanna Larsson, it came time for the #2 world-ranked tennis player to find an easier time withAustralia’s summer temperatures and make an easy dispatch of her opponent.

Azarenka exploded in the first set winning 74 percent of points won on the first serve while Strycova struggled to keep up with the pace. At the end of the first, Azarenka won the set in just 34 minutes indicating that her run for a third consecutive championship was alive and well.

The second set saw her pace falling, winning 60 percent of points in the first set to converting just 49 percent as Strycova made her battle back, winning three games in a row; Azarenka regrouped to complete the sweep of the match winning 35 points total. She  meets Austria’s Yvonne Muesburger on Saturday night as she continues to match Martina Hingis’s current record of three consecutive Australian Open titles.