Aryna Sabalenka is determined to keep winning grand slam championships and increasing her tally, as she defeated the 12th seed Zheng Qinwen in 76 minutes with scores of 6-3, 6-2 to secure her second Australian Open victory.
“I have always strived to not be the type of player who wins and then fades away,” stated Sabalenka, the second-ranked player. “My goal was to prove that I can consistently perform and win multiple titles. Of course, I hope to win more than just two at this point, but it was still extremely important for me. That’s why, regardless of the outcome, I am always dedicated to working hard and finding ways to improve my game.”
She successfully concluded a very dominant two-week period by successfully defending her first major championship. Sabalenka did not lose a single set and only gave up 31 games, which is the second lowest in the 21st century. In her last six major tournaments, Sabalenka has achieved two titles, one runner-up finish, and three semi-final appearances. While she remains at No 2 in the rankings, Sabalenka is expected to continue competing with Iga Swiatek for the top spot this year.
Despite experiencing a successful year and reaching the top spot for the first time, Sabalenka also faced several tough defeats. She reflects on her attempts to defend her first grand slam title and realizes that the feeling of winning a major tournament never diminishes. She had hoped that the previous year’s victory would allow her to play with more freedom and less concern, but she now understands that this is not the case. The desire to win remains strong, and she continues to put in hard work and fight for her goals, always striving to perform at her best level.
“Prior to witnessing numerous champions shedding tears after winning a slam, I used to question their emotional response. I thought, ‘You’ve achieved this victory multiple times, why are you still crying?’ However now, having not reached that level myself, I can see why they were overcome with emotion. The pressure and expectations remain the same each time, and the desire for success is equally as strong. It’s a highly emotional experience.”
As Sabalenka celebrated a significant accomplishment, Zheng was disappointed by her performance and inability to make the match more competitive in her first grand slam final. The 21-year-old had never made it past the quarter-final stage of a slam before. Despite facing a top player in top form, Zheng was unable to match their strength and skill.
She expressed her desire to improve as a player by learning from her losses. She hopes to come back stronger in the future.