Australian Open 2024 Final: By defeating Zheng Qinwen to win the women’s title, Aryna Sabalenka demonstrated why she had been regarded as the Australian Open favorite for a considerable amount of time. Without dropping a set, second-seeded Sabalenka of Belarus won 6-3 6-2 to win her second Grand Slam singles title.
With 12-seeded Zheng’s fervent Chinese backing, a controlled Sabalenka quickly sapped the energy from both her opponent and the audience. Since Victoria Azarenka in 2013, she is the only female winner to do so. In the footsteps of her countrywoman Azarenka, Sabalenka, 25, emerged as the clear favorite with the defeat of top seed Iga Swiatek in the third round. She won in just over an hour.
“It’s been an amazing couple of weeks and I couldn’t imagine lifting the trophy another time,” Sabalenka remarked. The 21-year-old Zheng frequently appeared intimidated by the situation and her opponent as she competed in her maiden major final.
With a bang, Sabalenka Returns
Working with a psychologist and restructuring her service to prevent the double faults that had dogged her were major contributors to Sabalenka’s victory in Melbourne last year. She became the most reliable women’s player at the Grand Slams and had her first spell as the world number one as a result of her growth over the remaining 2023 season.
Sabalenka proceeded to make it to the US Open, Wimbledon, and French Open semi-finals, at the very least, but moments of doubt derailed her hopes of winning more majors. “Big victories won’t come without really difficult setbacks. You have to have faith in the process and know that you’ll perform better the following time,” she stated.
Once back in Melbourne, the knowledge of having already prevailed there seemed to provide even more confidence in a string of well-rehearsed performances. After defeating Gauff in straight sets in the semifinals, Sabalenka lost just 16 games en route to the title, and she subsequently focused on Zheng. It paid off that she executed her aggressive strategy to almost flawless precision.
After forcing three break points from Zheng in the opening game, Sabalenka broke at the first opportunity with a backhand that stunned the Chinese player. She then persisted in forcing errors from her opponent as she advanced towards an easy victory. In an otherwise flawless performance, Sabalenka’s rare moment of doubt occurred when she needed to hold onto a rare break point in order to secure her victory and earn her fifth championship point.
She responded to this with a flawless forehand crosscourt winner, turning to face her teammates and kissing them.
Zheng is unable to deliver the win Chinese supporters yearned for at the Australian Open 2024 Final
Sabalenka was attempting to equal her countrymate Azarenka’s feat, but she was also aiming to mimic Zheng’s momentous historical moment. Ten years ago, the country was ecstatic when rising Chinese star Li Na won the 2014 Australian Open, including 11-year-old Zheng and her childhood pals who watched on TV.
If Zheng had celebrated the significant milestone with a personal victory, it would have ignited jubilant festivities both in Melbourne and her native country. The bulk of the 15,000 spectators, who were cheering for a player known as “Queen Wen” and waving Five-Star Red Flags and homemade banners, supported Zheng in this heavily Chinese-populated city.
She could not, however, deliver the triumph they so desperately wanted. In addition to appearing nervous, Zheng was unable to keep up with Sabalenka’s rapid groundstrokes because the world number two was simply too good for him.
Throughout her journey to the final, the Chinese player had not encountered a rival ranked within the top 50, not even British number one Katie Boulter in the second round.
“It’s my first final and I’m feeling a little bit [of] pity but it was a good experience at the same time,” Zheng added. “I feel complicated because I could have done better but I didn’t in this match.”