Aryna Sabalenka confirmed herself as queen of the Australian Open by winning the tournament for the second consecutive year. Wrapped in a red outfit, as aggressive as her tennis, the number 2 in the WTA ranking dominated the Chinese Zheng Qinwen.
Minimum effort and maximum result in two easy sets: 6-3, 6-2 after 1h16′ of play. Sabalenka – who had won her only previous match, in the quarterfinals of last season’s US Open – reached the final without dropping a set.
She is the first to win two titles in a row in Melbourne since compatriot Victoria Azarenka (2012-2013). Zheng will rise to number 7 in the rankings from Monday. “It’s been an extraordinary two weeks, I’m speechless” commented Sabalenka, awarded by Evonne Goolagong.
“I know it’s hard to lose a final – she then consoled her opponent – but you’re young and you’ll play in many more.” Then she thanked her team «who gave me a super power. Without you I wouldn’t be here, but without me you wouldn’t be so good…”. Finally, a thought for parents: «Thank you for everything you have done in my life. I know you don’t understand English but someone will translate it for you.”
The 25-year-old Belarusian annihilated her opponent with the power of her groundstrokes and her serve, in particular with a wicked first outside shot from the right, which the Chinese player was never able to counteract.
In the opening set Zheng immediately lost his serve, then wasted three opportunities to immediately return the break. Same script in the second: immediately down a break she was no longer able to recover, in fact she suffered another break in the fifth game. Leading 4-1 and with serve available, Sabalenka increased the pressure again to take a 5-1 lead. Zheng held out for one more game.
In her decisive turn of serve, Sabalenka – perhaps struggling with a bit of emotion – needed five match points to close the match and regain the Australian trophy.