Aryna Sabalenka overwhelms Qinwen Zheng

Edwin  - CEO January 27, 2024
Updated 2024/01/27 at 11:36 AM
7 Min Read
Delight for Aryna Sabalenka in Melbourne - AP/Asanka Brendon Ratnayake
Delight for Aryna Sabalenka in Melbourne - AP/Asanka Brendon Ratnayake

 Wins back-to-back Australian Open titles


Aryna Sabalenka
Aryna Sabalenka celebrates with the trophy after beating Qinwen Zheng in straight sets – 6-3, 6-2 – to win her second Australian Open title in as many years – Getty Images/Martin Keep

Aryna Sabalenka is creating a dynasty at the Australian Open. On Saturday, Sabalenka crushed her Chinese opponent Qinwen Zheng in just 76 minutes, thus becoming the first woman to defend this title since her fellow Belarusian Victoria Azarenka 11 years ago, reports for Yahoo Sports.


The 6-3, 6-2 victory continued Sabalenka’s frictionless run through this event, which has seen her spend only over eight hours on the court. For context, men’s finalist Daniil Medvedev has already crossed the 20-hour mark with another match still to go.


Her clean serving summed up the flawlessness of Sabalenka’s performance: 67 percent of first serves landed and not a single double fault, which is a remarkable achievement for someone plagued by the yips only 18 months ago.


She was on cruise control for much of this contest, which was briefly interrupted by a ‘free-Palestine’ protester. The occasion seemed to get to Zheng, who said in her speech that she had felt “a little bit dizzy”. But then, it was a mismatch in so many ways: power, experience, and proven quality. The unpredictable nature of the women’s draw can be seen from the fact that Zheng beat no opponent ranked higher than British No. 1 Katie Boulter, who is the world No. 54.


It’s strange now to think that the fans mocked her exaggerated grunt on Sabalenka’s first visit to Rod Laver Arena in 2018. Now she is a fixture on this court: a two-time Australian Open champion with power to add.


Aryna Sabalenka – an irrepressible force in the women’s game


The performance from Sabalenka throughout the tournament has put the rest of the WTA on notice.


With the power she has and the momentum she’s building – semi-finals, at least, in the last six grand slams – the Belarusian is poised to take over the sport.



10:38 AM GMT

List of Australian Open women’s singles champions since 2010

2024 Aryna Sabalenka (Belarus) bt Zheng Qinwen (China) 6-3, 6-2
2023 Aryna Sabalenka (Belarus) bt Elena Rybakina (Kazakhstan) 4-6, 6-3, 6-4
2022 Ash Barty bt Danielle Collins (U.S.) 6-3, 7-6(2)
2021 Naomi Osaka (Japan) bt Jennifer Brady (U.S.) 6-4, 6-3
2020 Sofia Kenin (U.S.) bt Garbine Muguruza (Spain) 4-6, 6-2, 6-2
2019 Naomi Osaka bt Petra Kvitova (Czech Republic) 7-6(2), 5-7, 6-4
2018 Caroline Wozniacki (Denmark) bt Simona Halep (Romania) 7-6(2), 3-6, 6-4
2017 Serena Williams (U.S.) bt Venus Williams (U.S.) 6-4, 6-4
2016 Angelique Kerber (Germany) bt S. Williams 6-4, 3-6, 6-4
2015 S. Williams bt Maria Sharapova (Russia) 6-3, 7-6(5)
2014 Li Na (China) bt Dominika Cibulkova (Slovakia) 7-6(3), 6-0
2013 Victoria Azarenka (Belarus) bt Li Na 4-6, 6-4, 6-3
2012 Victoria Azarenka bt Maria Sharapova 6-3, 6-0
2011 Kim Clijsters (Belgium) bt Li Na 3-6, 6-3, 6-3
2010 S. Williams bt Justine Henin (Belgium) 6-4, 3-6, 6-2

Sabalenka overwhelms Zheng to win second title
Aryna Sabalenka poses with the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup – Getty Image/Darrian Traynor

10:29 AM GMT


Sabalenka reacts


I want to congratulate Qinwen on an incredible couple of weeks. I know how tough it is to lose in the final but you’re such an incredible player and you’re going to get it.


It’s been an amazing couple of weeks. I couldn’t imagine myself lifting this trophy one more time. It’s an unbelievable feeling.


As always my speech is going to be weird. Team, wow. Thank you so much for being by my side no matter what. I mean, without me you wouldn’t be that good as well.


I never speak about my family in these speeches but I have to say thank you for everything they’ve done for me. I love you so much, you’re my biggest motivation. I can’t wait to come back.


Sabalenka overwhelms Zheng to win second title
Aryna Sabalenka gives a speech while holding the trophy – Reuters/Eloisa Lopez

10:24 AM GMT


Zheng reacts


First of all I want to say congratulations to you Aryna – you had such a wonderful match here. It was my first final and I’m feeling a little bit (of) pity but that’s how it is, a new experience for me.


I want to say thanks for all the fans who come here to watch me. I feel I could do better but I didn’t in this match but I wanted to say thanks to my team to help me arrive here.


I really enjoyed playing in this Australian Open. An amazing memory for me. I’m sure there is going to be more and better for me in the future.


Sabalenka overwhelms Zheng to win second title
China’s Qinwen Zheng gives a speech holding the runners-up trophy – Reuters/Eloisa Lopez


10:08 AM GMT


Title defense: completed without dropping a set


Sabalenka is just the 5th woman to win the Australian Open without dropping a set after Lindsay Davenport, Maria Sharapova, Serena Williams, and Ash Barty.



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