Connect with us
[smartslider3 slider="2"]


PREVIEW: 2024 Australian Open Women’s Final – Aryana Sabalenka v Qinwen Zheng

And then there were two! The belligerent Aryana Sabalenka faces off agaisnt 12th-seed Qinwen Zheng in the final Australian Open. Damien Kayat previews.

Aryna Sabalenka - Australian Open

And then there were two! The belligerent Aryana Sabalenka faces off agaisnt 12th-seed Qinwen Zheng in the final Australian Open. Damien Kayat previews.

Jamie Moore's Diary - jockey talks Goshen and Ascot rides

2024 WTA Tour
Grand Slam Tennis
Australian Open
Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia
Aussie Open Ladies Final- 27th January

Despite the fact that Zheng is ranked 12th in the world, this still feels very much like a gender-swapped David and Goliath clash. Aryna Sabalenka just overcame a spirited Coco Gauff in her quest to become the first woman since Azarenka- in 2012 and 2013- to win back-to-back Aussie Open titles.

Qinwen Zheng can become arguably the most significant Grand Slam champion of the last decade. Can you imagine what a Zheng win could do for tennis in Asia? She will have her work cut out as looks to derail this runaway Sabalenka train.

To Win Match
Aryna Sabalenka 1/6 | Qinwen Zheng 4/1

Defending champion Aryna Sabalenka is yet to drop a set in what has been an absolutely ruthless title defence thus far. However, she did not have things all her own way in a high-quality semi-final showdown with Coco Gauff (that would have made a great championship match).

Both players hit more winners than unforced errors in a bruising baseline battle that left me stunned. On current form, no other player in world tennis could have withstood that Sabalenka barrage as well Gauff did (Swiatek included).

Sabalenka was visibly impressed by the sheer athleticism of the American teenager. But her power was undeniable and the Belarusian ultimately had the game when it mattered, hitting a stunning 33 winners in two brilliant sets of tennis.

Like Sampras at Wimbledon, Sabalenka is just made for these fast surfaces. That win over Gauff took her current Aussie Open winning streak to 13 matches. It also improved her 2024 record to 10-1 (she lost in the Brisbane final to Elena Rybakina).

It’s crazy to think there was a time when practically the whole tennis community thought she would never realise her potential. She only served two double-faults against Gauff, highlighting the importance of the biomechanics work that she did to improve that stroke.

She will be the overwhelming favourite going into this match against Qinwen Zheng, the unlikely survivor of the absolute carnage in the top half of the draw.

What a fortnight this has been for Chinese No.1 Qinwen Zheng. Her straight-sets semi-final win over Yastremska ended an incredible fairytale story for the Ukrainian qualifier. And it made her just the second Chinese woman in history to reach the final of Slam: Li Na won two Grand Slam titles in four finals.

And this result shouldn’t really be too much of a surprise to anyone who has been watching her career over the last 12 months or so. She reached three finals on tour last season, winning in Palermo and Zhengzhou. She also produced a thrilling quarter-final run at the US Open.

That means she is 10-1 in her last eleven Grand Slam matches. She has certainly benefitted from the turkey shoot that has been the top half of the draw (she is yet to play a seeded player all week). She has also been pushed to three sets in two different matches.

Her performance against Yastremska was really a showcase of what the Chinese star has to offer. She served well, especially dominant with that big first-serve down the T. But it is her defensive strengths and counterpunching ability that has seen her thrive this year. She is almost like a less explosive Gauff, absorbing body blows before all of a sudden turning defence into attack.

She will need that forehand to stay in fighting shape should she stand any chance against Sabalenka. One thing that will most certainly be in Zheng’s favour is the crowds. There is a huge Chinese expat community in Australia and they were in fine voice in her semi-final win against Yastremska.

Verdict: Sabalenka to win in straight sets at 3/5

Sabalenka easily won their only previous encounter at last year’s US Open. And these courts are even better suited to Sabalenka’s monstrous game. I watched the Zheng-Yastremska match directly after the Sabalenka-Gauff encounter.

And while it was certainly worthy of being a Grand Slam semi-final, it still felt like the match was being played at a different framerate to the earlier affair. Sabalenka is going to overwhelm the Chinese star with her flat, penetrative hitting.

Jamie Moore's Diary - jockey talks Goshen and Ascot rides
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in Tennis