Breaking News

Aryna Sabalenka defends Australian Open crown with crushing win vs Qinwen Zheng | Tennis News

An unrelenting Aryna Sabalenka crushed Qinwen Zheng’s hope in the women’s singles on the Rod Laver Arena on Saturday, winning 6-3, 6-2 in just an hour to successfully defend her Australian Open crown. With the win, the world No. 2 became the second player to win back-to-back women’s title at Melbourne Park after Victoria Azarenka, who won in 2012 and 2013.

Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus celebrates after defeating Zheng Qinwen of China in the women’s singles final at the Australian Open tennis championships at Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, Saturday, Jan. 27(AP)

Sabalenka did not drop a single set through the fortnight, having won 28 of her last 29 sets in Melbourne, which included her title-winning run in 2023. The 25-time tour-level titlist hence became the fifth player in history to win the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup without conceding a set, after Ash Barty in 2022, Serena Williams in 2017, Maria Sharapova in 2008 and Lindsay Davenport in 2000.

Stay tuned for all the latest updates on Ram Mandir! Click here

The crushing win also improved Sabalenka to 2-1 in major finals, making her the 10th active player on the WTA circuit to have won multiple Slams alongside Iga Swiatek, Naomi Osaka, Garbiñe Muguruza, Simona Halep, Petra Kvitova, Azarenka, Angelique Kerber, Svetlana Kuznetsova and Venus Williams.

Sabalenka dished out a flawless set of aggressive tennis, which never allowed Zheng to find her rhythm. She broke the Chinese early in the opening set with a ferocious backhand to take a 2-0 lead. The No. 12 seed quickly created three break-point opportunities for herself in the next game, but the Belarusian fought off well. That game set the tone for the rest of the match as Zheng struggled to gain a foothold. The only positive aspect of the set was, however, Zheng’s improved numbers in the percentage of first-serves she landed – 56% from what she managed en route to the final to 63%, which included six aces.

Sabalenka, meanwhile, dominated with her serve, despite falling back on the winners count – 14 to Zheng’s 19 – as she landed 67 per cent of her first deliveries, while conceding only six points on it in the opening set.

The 2023 US Open finalist then broke twice in the second set – early and late – as Zheng struggled to land her first serves. There were three doubles faults in the opening game and two more in the fifth as Sabalenka raced away to a 4-1 lead. Zheng threatened a late fightback in the second set, saving four championship points after Sabalenka rose to 5-2 40-0, taking it to deuce twice before getting a break point. But the defending champion relied on her serve and successfully converted her fifth championship point with a clean forehand one-two punch.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *