Aryna Sabalenka qualified for the final of the Australian Open for the second year in a row on Thursday. The Belarusian was too strong for Coco Gauff in the last four and will meet the Chinese Zheng Qinwen in the final battle.
The 25-year-old Sabalenka defeated Gauff, six years his junior, in two sets: 7-6 (2) and 6-4. The defending defender decided the match after 1 hour and 44 minutes on her second match point.
The first set was one with breaks back and forth. Sabalenka gave up a break lead twice, after which Gauff was allowed to serve for the set at 6-5.
But Sabalenka broke back and forced a tiebreak. The number two in the world awarded her opponent only two points.
In the second set the score was tied at 4-4. Sabalenka then took a break lead and served out the match.
Zheng puts an end to qualifier Yastremska’s advance
With her victory over Gauff, Sabalenka took revenge for her defeat last year in the final of the US Open. Then the American won in three sets and took her first Grand Slam title.
Sabalenka won the Australian Open for the first time last year. This was also her first Grand Slam title for the Belarusian.
Sabalenka will face Zheng in the final on Saturday. The world number fifteen from China beat Ukrainian qualifier Dayana Yastremska 6-4 and 6-4.
The 21-year-old Zheng is in the final of a Grand Slam tournament for the first time. Her best result before the Australian Open was a quarter-final spot at last year’s US Open.
The post first appeared on www.nu.nl