Thursday, May 30, 2024

Australian Open: Sabalenka To Face Zheng In Second Consecutive Final

Sabalenka is seeking consecutive Australian Open titles, just like her idol, Serena Williams.

World No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka has secured her spot in the women’s singles final of the 2024 Australian Open, defeating Coco Gauff in two straight sets on Thursday.

The 25-year-old Belarussian won 7-6, 6-4 in one hour and 42 minutes, setting up her second consecutive Australian Open final appearance.

Sabalenka took an early lead of 5-2 in the first set, but Gauff mounted a comeback to force a tie-break, which Sabalenka won 7-2 to claim the first set. The second set remained on serve until the ninth game, when Sabalenka broke Gauff, eventually closing out the set 6-4 and the match 2-0.

Mirroring her idol, Serena Williams, who achieved the same feat in 2009 and 2010, Sabalenka expressed her focus and composure throughout the match, regardless of the score. In a post-match interview, she described the battle against Gauff as incredible and highlighted her determination to stay focused and fight for every point.

“It was an incredible match. She’s a great player, always tough battles against her. I think the key was that I was able to stay focused, no matter what. No matter what the score was, I just keep trying my best, keep fighting for it.”

Sabalenka’s opponent in the final will be the 12th-seeded Qinwen Zheng from China.

The 21-year-old secured her first Grand Slam final appearance by defeating Dayana Yastremska 6-4, 6-4 in one hour and 42 minutes. Zheng broke Yastremska in the third game of the first set, and despite Yastremska breaking back, Zheng secured crucial breaks to take both sets, ultimately benefiting from Yastremska’s 23 unforced errors.

Zheng, who is looking to become the second Chinese player to win a Grand Slam title after Li Na achieved the feat in 2010, said her passage to the final was unbelievable.

“It feels unbelievable. I’m super excited to have such a great performance today and arrive in the final. That’s been my dream since I was a kid.”

The final is scheduled for the Rod Laver Arena on Saturday.

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