Aryna Sabalenka - Australian Open 2024

Aryna Sabalenka has ‘unbelievable feeling’ after retaining Australian Open title

Aryna Sabalenka has become the first woman to retain the Australian Open singles title since her compatriot, Victoria Azarenka, achieved the feat in 2013.

Sabalenka beat first-time Grand Slam finalist Qinwen Zheng, 6-3 6-2, on Rod Laver Arena to confirm that she would regain the title in Melbourne without dropping a set.

As a result, the Belarusian joins an elite field of names to have achieved this feat at the Australian Open this century, alongside Ash Barty (2022), Serena Williams (2017), Maria Sharapova (2008) and Lindsay Davenport (2000).

Despite the incredible achievement, Sabalenka wanted to congratulate Zheng first, who will become a top 10 player for the first time on Monday, “I want to congratulate Qinwen on an incredible couple of weeks. I know how tough it is to lose in the final but you’re such an incredible player and you’re going to get it.”

The world No.2 then went onto reflect on her own achievement, “It’s been an amazing couple of weeks. I couldn’t imagine myself lifting this trophy one more time. It’s an unbelievable feeling.”

She continued, “As always my speech is going to be weird. Team, wow. Thank you so much for being by my side no matter what. I mean, without me you wouldn’t be that good as well.

“I never speak about my family in these speeches but I have to say thank you for everything they’ve done for me. I love you so much, you’re my biggest motivation. I can’t wait to come back.”

Sabalenka has now slightly bridged the gap on world No.1 Iga Swiatek to 865 points, with the Pole suffering a shock third round defeat earlier on in the tournament.

Inside the baseline…

Aryna Sabalenka was a level above the rest of the field in Melbourne this week, evident in the fact that she did not drop a single set. It will be interesting to see whether the Belarusian will be able to close the gap on Iga Swiatek, with Sabalenka probably the more likely to cause more damage on all surfaces. Although Qinwen Zheng will understandably be disappointed with how the final panned out, it has been a breakthrough week for the 21-year-old, who will reach a career-high of No.7 on Monday.

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Aryna Sabalenka and her run to the 2024 Australian Open title

With Sabalenka’s dominance being so evident this past fortnight, we at Tennishead wanted to look back at her seven straight set wins in Melbourne:

First Round – Beat Ella Seidel (Q), 6-0 6-1

Second Round – Beat Brenda Fruhvirtova (Q), 6-3 6-2

Third Round – Beat Lesia Tsurenko (28), 6-0 6-0

Fourth Round – Beat Amanda Anisimova, 6-3 6-2

Quarter-final – Beat Barbora Krejcikova (9), 6-2 6-3

Semi-final – Beat Coco Gauff (4), 7-6(2) 6-4

Final – Beat Qinwen Zheng (12), 6-3 6-2

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Matthew Johns, Tennishead Writer, is a professional tennis journalist with a specialist degree in Sports Journalism. He's a keen tennis player having represented his local club and University plus he's also a qualified tennis coach. Matthew has a deep knowledge of tennis especially the ATP Tour and thrives on breaking big tennis news stories for Tennishead.