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Aryna Sabalenka wins second straight Australian Open

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 27: Aryna Sabalenka poses with the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup after the the Women's Singles Final match between Qinwen Zheng of China and Aryna Sabalenka during the 2024 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 27, 2024 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Will Murray/Getty Images)

Aryna Sabalenka won her second Grand Slam title over the weekend, taking home her second-straight Australian Open championship.

Sabalenka is only the second women’s player in the Open era to win her first two singles titles at the Australian Open, following Victoria Azarenka.

She won the title in the same way she dominated the tournament – in straight sets. Zheng Qinwen proved to be no match for Sabalenka, who’s closest match was a 7-6(2), 6-4 semifinal win over Coco Gauff.

“I think Sabalenka is one of the most tough opponents I have faced,” Zheng said after the match. “She’s a really aggressive player. She takes away the rhythm compared to other players.

“It is so important to hold your own service game [against Sabalenka], because she had a really good serve. But I couldn’t do that.”

Sabalenka is the first woman in 11 years to defend a title at the Australian Open.

“As soon as I stepped on the court, I felt like I was in control,” she said after the match.

With the win, the world’s No. 2 player has closed the gap on Iga Swiatek, but their rankings will remain the same following the year’s first major.

Sabalenka has been one of the most consistent players on the women’s tour since Wimbledon in 2021. Nobody has won more than her at Grand Slams, with Sabalenka making the semifinals in seven of the last nine majors. She’s played in three finals, having won two of them.

“I’m speechless right now,” Sabalenka said. “I don’t know how to describe my emotions. I’m super, super happy and proud of everything I was able to achieve. I just have to keep fighting for my dream and believe my father is watching me and very proud of me.”