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Australian Open 2024 Final Highlights: Aryna Sabalenka defends title with crushing win over Qinwen Zheng

Published at :January 27, 2024 at 04:31 PM
Modified at :January 30, 2024 at 07:39 PM
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Hello and welcome to Khel Now’s live blog for the Qinwen Zheng vs Aryna Sabalenka final match at Australian Open 2024. Please wait for the blog to start.

Qinwen Zheng is following in the footsteps of Li Na on the 10th anniversary of her 2014 Australian Open win by becoming the second Chinese player in history to reach a Grand Slam final. The 12th seed ended qualifier Dayana Yastremska’s run, winning 6-4, 6-4, in the battle between two first-time Grand Slam semifinalists in 1 hour and 42 minutes. 

Defending champion Aryna Sabalenka remains on course for a second Grand Slam by returning to the Australian Open final after defeating Coco Gauff. Sabalenka brushed past Gauff 7-6(2), 6-4 in the semifinals on Thursday night. The World No. 2 avenged her defeat in the US Open final loss to the American and advanced to her third major final. The semi-final was a lacklustre affair by Gauff’s standards, serving eight double faults and hitting only 22 winners to Sabalenka’s 33.

Qinwen Zheng vs Aryna Sabalenka Preview

When Sabalenka sailed into the Australian Open 2024 final, she became the first player since Serena Williams to reach two Grand Slam finals in a row since Serena Williams in 2016 and 2017.  A win will also hand the World No. 2 another first, that of the first player to win back-to-back titles in Melbourne since Victoria Azarenka in 2012 and 2013. She is yet to drop a set all tournament, taking her 2024 match record to 10-1. 

In 2023, Zheng won her first two career titles in Palermo and Zhengzhou, the latter being a WTA 500 title. She also broke into the top 20 from 143 and made her Australian Open debut in 2022. The Chinese woman who was named WTA Newcomer of the Year in 2022 will be looking for a date with destiny, with a win at Melbourne Park on the 10th anniversary of Li Na’s win at the same venue.

Winning will also make her the second winner from Asia to taste victory in Melbourne after two-time winner Naomi Osaka.

Pere Riba is coaching Zheng, currently at World No.15, who broke into the top 30 under his wing. Riba is the one-time coach of Gauff and was courtside when she claimed her maiden Grand Slam title at Flushing Meadows in 2023.

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Head-to-head records

Matches – 1

Aryna Sabalenka – 1

Qinwen Zheng – 0

Zheng will take on defending champion and No.2 seed Aryna Sabalenka for the second time in her career in Saturday’s final. Their only previous meeting took place in last year’s US Open quarterfinals, Zheng’s first appearance in the last eight, which Sabalenka won 6-1, 6-4. 

Where and how to watch the live streaming and TV broadcast of Qinwen Zheng vs Aryna Sabalenka, Australian Open 2024 final in India?

The summit clash of the Australian Open 2024 women’s singles event gets underway on January 27 (Saturday) at 7:30 PM Melbourne time (2 PM IST). Fans in India can tune into Sony Ten 2, Sony Ten 3, Sony 4 and Sony 5 SD/HD channels to live telecast the match. SonyLiv will be live streaming the final clash online for OTT fans.

Prediction

Both Qinwen Zheng and Aryna Sabalenka have everything to play for — Zheng has a maiden Grand Slam win on the line, while Sabalenka will be looking to help herself to a second Australian Open trophy. There is a tryst with history beckoning both players as well.

A victory will make Zheng the first Chinese woman in a decade to win at Melbourne Park. For Sabalenka, it will be a chance to emulate compatriot Victoria Azarenka if she wins, giving her two consecutive wins in Melbourne. 

Sabalenka has a 10-1 record on hard courts in 2024, while for Zheng, it is 8-1. Among the players Zheng defeated in 2024 is the reigning Wimbledon champion, Marketa Vondrousova. Sabalenka has an edge in their 2023 performance on hard courts, winning 35, with nine losses. Zheng won 23 matches on hard courts last season and lost eleven. 

Result: Aryna Sabalenka to win in three sets.

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