Sabalenka defeats Zheng to defend her Australian Open title

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Aryna Sabalenka cemented why she had long been considered the Australian Open favourite by overpowering Zheng Qinwen to retain the women’s title at Melbourne.

Belarusian second seed Sabalenka won 6-3 6-2 to claim her second Grand Slam singles trophy without dropping a set.

Despite the cheers garnered for 12th seed Zheng backed by passionate Chinese support, a composed Sabalenka sucked the energy out of her opponent and the crowd in a fast start.

With her recent victory, she is the first woman to win back-to-back since Victoria Azarenka in 2013.

Read Also: Djokovic laments Aus Open ouster, praises Sinner for reaching final

25 years years Sabalenka, who became the strong favourite after top seed Iga Swiatek was beaten in the third round, emulated her compatriot Azarenka by completing victory in little over an hour.

“It’s been an amazing couple of weeks and I couldn’t imagine lifting the trophy another time,” said Sabalenka.

Zheng, 21, was playing in her first major final and often looked overawed by both the occasion and her opponent.

Sabalenka has now won two major singles titles, at the 2023 and 2024 Australian Opens, and two major doubles titles at the 2019 US Open and the 2021 Australian Open, both partnering Elise Mertens.

In all, she has won 20 career titles in total, 14 in singles and six in doubles.

By Amosun OluwaSeyi

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