Sabalenka Defends AUS Title

Written by on January 28, 2024

Written by: Karabo Peter


Heading into the final of the Australian Open, Aryna Sabalenka stated that she was “pretty calm” ahead of her title defence.

She certainly displayed that composure on the Rod Laver Arena after defeating China’s Qinwen Zheng in straight sets of 6-3 6-2.

Sabalenka kept a clean sheet through the tournament, not dropping a set in seven matches and defeated Zheng to become the first player since Victoria Azarenka 11 years ago to claim back-to-back titles.

The Belarusian player aimed to build onto last year’s win. “I didn’t want to be that player who wins it (Australian Open) and disappeared. I just wanted to show I am able to be consistently there and I am able to win another one. I really hope there will be more,” Sabalenka said.

Her opponent, Zheng was the first Chinese player to make it to a Grand Slam decider since Li Na won the title in Australia a decade ago.

“It’s my first final here and I’m feeling it’s a little bit of a pity but I want to say thanks to all the fans who come here to watch me. I feel I could do better in this match but I want to say thanks to my team who helped me arrive here,” Zheng said.

Sabalenka was rewarded with the Daphane Akhurst Memorial cup from Evonne Goolagong Cawley on the 50th anniversary of her first singles titles in Australia.

Afterwards, she said: “I want to congratulate Qinwen on an incredible couple of weeks. I know how tough it is to lose in a final but you’re such an incredible player and you’re going to get it.”

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