Bharat Express

Sabalenka Secures Second Consecutive Australian Open Title in Dominant Fashion

The Belarusian world No.2 retained the women’s singles title without dropping a set, beating China’s Zheng Qinwen 6-3 6-2 in the final

In the domain of sports, maintaining a lead can prove as daunting as securing it initially, particularly in individual sports where one must confront doubts alone. In the Australian Open women’s singles final, Aryna Sabalenka showcased her mastery as arguably the strongest frontrunner in world tennis today.

Entering the title clash against the 12th-seeded Zheng Qinwen, the 25-year-old Belarusian boasted an impressive streak. Across her previous 13 matches at Melbourne Park, encompassing her victorious campaign the previous year, she had conceded just one set (during the 2023 final), triumphing in 26 out of 27 sets. Sabalenka’s dominant form persisted in her resounding 6-3, 6-2 win over Zheng, securing her second Grand Slam title without succumbing to pressure as the overwhelming favorite.

This triumph marked a resounding statement by the world No. 2, making her the fifth woman since 2000 to clinch the Australian Open title without dropping a set and the ninth woman in the Open Era to achieve consecutive singles titles. Remarkably, Sabalenka’s serve remained unbroken throughout the final, a feat previously accomplished by Serena Williams against Maria Sharapova in 2007.

Seizing a 2-0 lead in the opener, Sabalenka maintained her momentum unyieldingly. Zheng, aspiring to become China’s first Major champion since Li Na in 2014, grappled with serving inconsistencies, with her unusual ball toss exacerbating her struggles to land first serves. Sabalenka’s prowess in capitalizing on second serves significantly tilted the match in her favor.

Although Zheng displayed flashes of brilliance, hitting 19 winners compared to Sabalenka’s 14, the day belonged to the Belarusian, whose superior firepower in serving and returning thwarted her opponent’s efforts. Sabalenka’s resilience shone through as she saved all four break points faced, including a crucial one while serving for the match, sealing victory in 76 minutes.

Throughout the tournament, except in her semi-final against Coco Gauff, Sabalenka never dropped more than three games in a set. Remarkably, her average number of lost games per match was less than five, a testament to her dominance.

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Sabalenka’s stellar performance in the Australian Open aligns with her consistent excellence over the past couple of years. Since her absence from the 2022 Wimbledon, she has reached at least the semi-finals in the last six Majors. While renowned for her powerful ball-striking, Sabalenka’s evolution into a more well-rounded player was evident during the clay swing last year, where she defeated world No. 1 Iga Swiatek in the Madrid final before advancing to the Roland Garros semi-finals.

Reflecting on her journey, Sabalenka expressed her determination not to fade into obscurity after her initial triumph but to prove her capability to consistently contend at the highest level. Her hard work and dedication bore fruit at this Australian Open, underscoring the significance of discipline, perseverance, and continual improvement in her journey to success.