Aryna Sabalenka got her Madrid Open campaign started with a 6-4 3-6 6-3 win over Magda Linette on Friday.

Sabalenka could not quite hit her peak form against Linette, but the world number two nevertheless got the job done after going the distance.

The Belarusian is hunting a record-equalling third title in Madrid, where she is the reigning champion, though she has not won back-to-back matches at a tournament since winning the Australian Open.

"It's not about being confident," Sabalenka said. "It's about how much you're ready to do to get it. It's about the hard work and to be ready, be ready for the big fights. I feel like confidence is not going to help you in those big matches. It's about staying there and fighting for it."

Data Debrief

Sabalenka (70 per cent, 56-24) is now one of five active players since 2020 to hold a winning percentage of 70 per cent or higher at WTA-1000 events.

Iga Swiatek, Simona Halep, Elena Rybakina and Jessica Pegula are the other players to feature on that list.