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Sabalenka to face Zheng Qinwen for title after blowing past Coco Gauff

In a remarkable comeback, Aryna Sabalenka, the defending champion, clinched her spot in the Australian Open final by defeating Coco Gauff, avenging a previous loss in the US Open final. Sabalenka’s arsenal of powerful returns and an impressive tally of 33 winners propelled her to a 7-6 (2), 6-4 victory, extending her winning streak at Melbourne Park to an impressive 13 matches. The upcoming championship clash will see her facing off against Zheng Qinwen, who secured her place in the final with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Dayana Yastremska.

Sabalenka is now eyeing the opportunity to become the first woman since Serena Williams in 2017 to secure consecutive Australian Open titles. This victory over Gauff marks a significant milestone in Sabalenka’s quest for back-to-back triumphs at Melbourne Park.

In the other semifinal, Zheng Qinwen, the No. 12 seed, delivered a stellar performance to secure her spot in the final. Notably, both Zheng and Yastremska were making their debut in a Grand Slam semifinal, making Zheng’s achievement even more commendable. Reflecting on her win, Zheng expressed her excitement, describing the performance as “unbelievable.”

Sabalenka’s dominance at Melbourne Park traces back to her breakthrough last year, and her current form suggests a strong contender for consecutive titles. Gauff, who had been unbeaten in 2024 and on a 12-match winning streak in majors, faced a tough challenge against Sabalenka’s experience in Australian Open semifinals.

The journey to the final included a dramatic first set with six service breaks, showcasing the resilience of both players. Sabalenka’s strategic play in the tiebreaker ultimately secured her the set. The second set remained tightly contested until Sabalenka secured a crucial service break in the ninth game, ultimately sealing the victory.

The Australian Open women’s final is now poised for an exciting showdown between Aryna Sabalenka and Zheng Qinwen. Sabalenka, acknowledging the challenge presented by Gauff, expressed her enjoyment of playing against her. With her focus on future finals, the tennis world eagerly anticipates an intriguing championship decider.

Post-victory, Sabalenka took a moment to pay tribute to tennis legends Billie Jean King and Evonne Goolagong Cawley in the crowd, expressing gratitude for their significant contributions to the sport. She also signed a towel during her post-match interview, with the auction proceeds set to benefit children and women affected by domestic violence.

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