Saturday, February 24, 2024
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Aryna Sabalenka defeats Qinwen Zheng to win second straight Australian Open

Aryna Sabalenka has successfully defended her title as the Australian Open champion. On Saturday, Sabalenka defeated Qinwen Zheng, 6-3, 6-2, in the women’s final to win the tournament for the second consecutive year.

The match opened with Sabalenka winning eight of the first nine points, and that was a sign for how the rest of the championship would go. Sabalenka’s power often proved too much for Zheng to overcome, and that really showed as the match progressed.

Sabalenka was in control for most of the match, and she was able to keep Zheng on her heels and at arm’s length the entire time. When a point went beyond the first serve, Sabalenka rarely lost, which was a testament to the combination of power and precision she displayed throughout the entire tournament.

In her victory speech, a lighthearted Sabalenka spoke about an “amazing two weeks” in Australia and joked around with her coach and training staff.

“Thank you so much for being by my side no matter what,” said Sabalenka, 25. “Without you, I wouldn’t be able to achieve so much in this sport. … Without me, you wouldn’t be so good as well, so let’s accept that fact.”

After making it two in a row at the Australian Open, Sabalenka’s mind immediately went to a three-peat in 2025.

“I love you so much. I can’t wait to some back and hopefully,” Sabalenka trailed off as she hugged the trophy and crossed her fingers.

Zheng was able to hang around in with some brilliant serves in the first set, but that area of her game was feast or famine on Saturday. When Zheng wasn’t hitting aces, it was Sabalenka’s point to win. Even worse, Zheng made some costly unforced errors with five double faults in the match.

After the first Grand Slam final of her career, Zheng said she had “very complicated” feelings about her performance. Despite the outcome against Sabalenka, the 21-year-old Zheng is hopeful that she will get more opportunities like this in the future. “It was an amazing memory for me,” she said. “I’m sure there is going to be more and better in the future.”

This dominant showing from Sabalenka in the final really sums up her performance in this tournament over the last two years. She has now won 14 straight matches in the Australian Open, and she didn’t even lose a single set this year. Now, Sabalenka will set her sights on another Grand Slam win at the French Open in just a few months.

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