In a remarkable feat, Aryna Sabalenka secured her second consecutive Australian Open title by defeating Qinwen Zheng with ease in a straight-set victory of 6-3, 6-2. Sabalenka, the reigning champion, dominated the tournament by not dropping a single set throughout, showcasing her exceptional form. This triumph marks the Belarusian's second individual title at a major tournament, having previously emerged victorious in last year's Australian Open.
The final encounter between Sabalenka, ranked 2nd in the world, and Zheng, making her debut in a Grand Slam final and standing at 15th in the world, was a testament to the champion's prowess. Sabalenka started strongly, securing an early break and maintaining her serve to take a commanding 3-0 lead. Despite Zheng's efforts to challenge the champion, Sabalenka maintained her composure, ultimately winning the first set 6-3.
The trend continued in the second set, with Sabalenka breaking Zheng's serve early on and showcasing her exceptional skills. Zheng fought back, managing to secure a break and narrowing the gap to 3-1. However, Sabalenka's resilience and powerful play proved decisive as she clinched the victory with a final score of 6-3, 6-2. Sabalenka expressed her disbelief and joy at the achievement, emphasizing the hard work, ability, and determination that contributed to her successful title defense.
"It's crazy, we still have to process it," Sabalenka remarked after the match. "I missed this trophy, this status, I never imagined I would be here again, and win again. I surprised myself, with all the pressure I was on, while trying to ignore everything going on around me. I worked hard, I was surprised by the ability I showed, and I continued to show that ability on every field and every game."