Home Australia Australian Open live updates: Aryna Sabalenka defeats Qinwen Zheng to win women’s final at Melbourne Park

Australian Open live updates: Aryna Sabalenka defeats Qinwen Zheng to win women’s final at Melbourne Park

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Aryna Sabalenka has become the first woman to win back-to-back Australian Opens in 11 years following a straight-sets victory over Qinwen Zheng in the final.

Sabalenka, who did not drop a set during the tournament, overpowered the Chinese 12th seed to triumph 6-3, 6-2 in one hour and 16 minutes on Rod Laver Arena.

Follow all the action from the men’s doubles final in our live blog.

The last player to lift the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup in consecutive years was Sabalenka’s fellow Belarusian Victoria Azarenka, who won in 2012 and 2013.

Sabalenka got off to the best possible start, serving to love in the opening game before breaking Zheng, who was making her first appearance in a major final.

Second-seeded Sabalenka held again for a 3-0 lead, although she faced three break points as Zheng showed signs of getting over her early nerves.

Zheng landed two consecutive aces on her way to holding serve in the fourth game, but the break Sabalenka had up her sleeve meant she remained the front runner.

When leading 5-2, Sabalenka had three set points on Zheng’s serve, but her 21-year-old opponent won six of the next seven points — with the aid of three aces — to hold.

It delayed the inevitable, however, as Sabalenka served out the set in the following game.

Zheng’s serve can be a weapon, illustrated by the fact she recorded the most aces in the tournament.

But it can also be erratic, and this was evident when she served three double faults in the opening game of the second set to give up a break.

Sabalenka then held serve to establish a 2-0 advantage, before play was briefly halted during the third game while security removed protesters from the crowd.

Following the resumption of play, Zheng got on the board in the second set with a service hold but she was broken in the fifth game.

A deft backhand drop shot sealed the double break and a 4-1 lead for Sabalenka, who later served for the match at 5-2.

At 40-0, she gave herself three championships points but blew each one, as Zheng got the score to deuce.

Zheng saved another championship point and was on the verge of securing a break, before Sabalenka composed herself to hold serve and seal victory.

There was some consolation for Zheng following her defeat, as she will rise to a career-high ranking of seven in the world.

Sabalenka will remain at number two, behind Iga Świątek.

Keep across all the latest from Melbourne Park in our blog below, check out live scores with our ScoreCentre, and tune in to our live radio coverage.

 

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