Sabalenka survives Gauff, returns to Aussie Open final

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Wilson Blade 9

In a rematch of the most recent US Open final, Aryna Sabalenka avenged the loss with a 7-6(2) 6-4 victory over Coco Gauff in a spectacular semifinal showdown at Rod Laver Arena which put the Belarusian just one win away from another Australian Open triumph.

Aryna Sabalenka

Wearing the red Nike Spring Slam Dress, Sabalenka took early control with a commanding 5-2 lead, capitalizing on Gauff’s struggle with five double faults in her initial three service games. Staying cool under pressure, Gauff initiated a remarkable comeback and managed to level at 5-5, which included saving a set point and hitting the fastest serve at the tournament with the speed of 201 km/h.

As we started seeing despair in Sabalenka’s eyes, the fourth-seeded Gauff sustained her momentum, breaking the Belarusian to secure her fourth consecutive game. Yet, the conclusion of the set proved to be a formidable challenge for Gauff. Sabalenka regained her composure and managed to break Gauff’s serve as she attempted to close out the set. This shift in momentum allowed Sabalenka to assert dominance in the subsequent tiebreak.

After Sabalenka wasted two break points in the opening game of the second set, one with a very bad volley, the next four games were all love holds, two on each side. Players continued to win their service games until 4-4, when Sabalenka finally converted her fifth break point. In the following game, Gauff saved one match point, but the second seed earned her second chance with an ace and finished the match with a service winner.

Leaving the court in tears, Gauff waved to the crowd at Rod Laver Arena.

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