Sabalenka overpowers Zheng to defend Australian Open title

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Wilson Blade 9

Focused and determined, Aryna Sabalenka clinched her second consecutive Australian Open title with a commanding 6-3 6-2 victory over Zheng Qinwen in the final.

Aryna Sabalenka

The world No.2 Sabalenka started the match with a brutal display of dominance, swiftly securing a 2-0 lead while relinquishing only a single point in the process. Notably, Eurosport provided a compelling statistic, revealing that Sabalenka clinches a set 94% of the time after earning an early break. To claim the third game and extend her lead to 3-0, Sabalenka exhibited her resilience by winning five consecutive points, confidently overcoming a challenging 0-40 deficit.

Zheng then finally interrupted Sabalenka’s momentum with a flawless love hold in the following game, to which Sabalenka responded with a love hold of her own, solidifying her commanding 4-1 lead. Facing a daunting 2-5 0-40 deficit, Zheng bravely saved three set points, ultimately holding serve and prolonging the set. In the subsequent game on Sabalenka’s serve, the Chinese player fended off one more set point, but she eventually succumbed to the Belarusian’s power.

Having opened the second set with a break, Sabalenka maintained her dominance, surging through the remainder of the match. Although the final game posed a challenge, with Zheng saving four match points and earning a break point, Sabalenka exhibited composure, ultimately serving it out for the win.

Note that coming into the Australian Open final, both Sabalenka and Zheng had won over 75% of their first-serve points in the tournament — in the title match, Sabalenka improved that percentage to staggering 84% (which was even 90% until the final game), while Zheng dropped just slightly to 74%.

Sabalenka has become the fifth player since 2000 to win the Australian Open without losing a set, joining Lindsay Davenport (2000), Maria Sharapova (2008), Serena Williams (2017), and Ashleigh Barty (2022). En route to her second title in Melbourne, Sabalenka defeated Ella Seidel, Brenda Fruhvirtova, Lesia Tsurenko, Amanda Anisimova, Barbora Krejcikova, Coco Gauff, and lastly Zheng Qinwen, all in straight sets.

The champion’s winning gear: the Nike Spring Slam Dress from the Melbourne collection, NikeCourt Zoom NXT tennis shoe, and Wilson Blade 98 18×20 v8 tennis racket.

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