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Aryna Sabalenka defends Australian Open title without giving up a single set


And having won 14 consecutive matches in Melbourne.

Before the final match, the official WTA website conducted a poll among fans on the future winner of the Australian Open. Its results were not surprising: 62 percent of the poll participants bet on Sobolenko, Zheng Qinwen was supported by 38 percent. A similar poll on our site gave an even more pronounced position: 82 percent for the Belarusian, 18 percent predicted the victory of the Chinese woman.

Indeed, there was a feeling that the Chinese woman got to the final as if she was slaughtered. For her, the Australian Open grid turned out in such a way that on her way to the deciding match, the world No. 15 not only did not meet a single seeded opponent, but did not even play with the top-50 women! The toughest ranked opponent of the Chinese player was British Katie Boulter (54th in the WTA rankings).

And then in the final, the world number two and the reigning Australian Open champion is coming at you. Understandably, the pressure on Zheng Qinwen in this case was immense. On the other hand, she probably never even dreamed of such a distant passage at the first major of the season. Her previous peak was the quarterfinals of the US Open-2023, where the Chinese player just lost to Arina in their only face-to-face match - 1:6, 4:6.

The Belarusian tennis player is another matter. This is not the same athlete who won the Australian Open last year and lost the final of the US Open. Now she is an absolutely concentrated tennis player, confident in her strength and capabilities, not complaining about mistakes and not freaking out when her opponents make a breakthrough. Hence the sharp decrease in the number of unforced errors and a solid increase in the percentage of balls won with the first serve.

And somehow Arina has become a shadow of the past achievements of her compatriot, former world number one Victoria Azarenka. On the eve of the final, Sobolenko had a unique opportunity to repeat the Belarusian's achievement of winning two Australian Open titles in a row. Vika did it in 2012 and 2013, and before her Jennifer Capriati (2001, 2002) and Serena Williams (2009, 2010) did a similar double.

Again, there is another thread that links Sobolenko and Azarenka: Sobolenko became the second tennis player in the XXI century to reach three consecutive finals at hard-court Grand Slam tournaments. Victoria Azarenka was the first to blaze the trail: she managed to play in four consecutive TBS finals.

As for the final match itself, it only had a cool status, but, in fact, it was a regular match for Sobolenko in Melbourne, where she has not lost for 14 consecutive meetings. And before that, the Belarusian did not give her opponents a single set, and on Saturday she did not change the statistics.

By and large, Zheng had nothing to oppose the Belarusian. Except when her serve started to work, the Chinese player could hold games on her serve. But after the Belarusian made a break at the start of the first set. And then she easily won a triple break point from her opponent.

Zheng's start of the second game was simply a failure: the Chinese player made three double faults on her serve in the game. Such a chant did not indicate any kind of a coming comeback. Zheng only had enough to test Arina's nerves - in the final game she won back the "champion's" points four times. But from the fifth matchball, Sobolenko set the mark, defending her Australian Open title, winning her second career TBS and 14th professional tournament overall.   

Based on the score (6-3, 6-2), the women's final of the Australian Open-2024 was the easiest in Melbourne since 2012. Previous matches were more closely contested. Victoria Azarenka made a mark in this component again, when in 2012 she defeated Russian Maria Sharapova 6-3, 6-0 in the final.

After this tournament, Arina Sobolenko will remain at the second line of the WTA ranking, while Zheng Qinwen will climb into the top-10 for the first time in her career. She will become the second Chinese tennis player (after Na Li) to achieve this achievement.  

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