June 24, 2024


Women’s second seed Aryna Sabalenka achieved double delight when she reached the Australian Open final by avenging her defeat to Coco Gauff in last year’s US Open final.

The Belarusian produced a fine performance to secure a 7-6 (7-2) 6-4 straight sets win over American fourth seed Gauff in a tense semi-final.

The sense of occasion affected both players as they made a number of avoidable, unforced errors in the first set with six breaks.

Gauff never recovered from her early, error-strewn performance

While Sabalenka made a quick recovery, her American opponent could not keep up and the Belarussian took full advantage in the second set.

“I think I was able to focus on myself and I was prepared for her moving really good and putting every ball back,” said Sabalenka.

“I had to be ready to make an extra shot and I was ready for tonight.”

At the end of the contest, Gauff admitted she was second best.

“It was a tough match for me,” said Gauff, who looked close to tears while she left Rod Laver Arena.

“Overall it was a positive tournament. I had chances in both sets, but she played better. I think it just came down to a couple of points and that’s tennis.”Sabalenka will face Zheng Qinwen or Dayana Yastremska in Saturday’s final.

Chinese 12th seed Zheng and Ukrainian qualifier Yastremska contest the second semi-final at Melbourne Park later on Thursday.



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