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.”

When it was over, Coco Gauff dropped to the Arthur Ashe ground and started to cry.

Gauffe defeated Aryna Sabalenka in the U.S. Open final Saturday, capturing her first Grand Slam championship. Gauff, 19, became the first American teen to win the U.S. Open since Serena Williams in 1999.

The 2-6, 6-3, 6-2 victory marked the culmination of a yearslong journey for Gauff, who has long been lauded the future of American tennis but had yet to break through. Gauff picked up some momentum with a pair of tournament victories in August: the Washington Open and the Cincinnati Open.

Gauff had defeated Karolina Muchova, 6-4, 7-5, in the semifinal, while Sabalenka, ranked No. 2 in the world, edged American Madison Keys 0-6, 7-6, 7-6 to advance to the final. The clinching point came when Gauff, on the run to her left, fired the ball past Muchova’s outstretched racket.

“Thank you to the people who didn’t believe in me,” Gauff said afterward. “A month ago I won a 500 title and people said I was going to stop there. Three weeks ago I won a 1000 title and people said that was as good as it was going to get. Three weeks later I’m standing here with the trophy.

“Those who thought they were adding water to my fire, they were really putting gas on it and I am burning so bright right now.”

By defeating Muchova, Gauff became the first American to win the U.S. Open since Sloane Stephens in 2017.

Gauff went into the stands to hug her mother and father after the historic win as social media tributes started to roll in.

“So proud of you,” Michelle Obama wrote on X. “Your hard work and grit was on display throughout this tournament. This is your moment!”

The US Open final is set, with Coco Gauff set to face off against Aryna Sabalenka for the final major title of the year.

It’s the teenage sensation against the impending world No. 1, as Sabalenka will take the top spot when the new rankings come out next week. Gauff, for her part, will move up in the rankings as well — and the 19-year-old American could even attain a career-high ranking of No. 3 with her first Grand Slam win.

Based on their head-to-head history, Gauff comes out on top, having won three matches over Sabalenka and losing just two. But their only matchup this year – at Indian Wells in March – went Sabalenka’s way, with the 25-year-old Belarusian claiming a straight-sets win.

Sabalenka and Gauff will face off for the title at 4 p.m. ET Saturday on ESPN.

Why Coco Gauff will win

When Gauff was just 15 years old and breaking onto the scene at Wimbledon, Venus Williams looked at her and declared: “The sky’s the limit.” Now, Gauff has finally, seemingly, put it all together.

Watching the 19-year-old at this year’s US Open has been like watching someone come into their own right before your eyes. You’ve seen it with Carlos Alcaraz. With Gauff, it felt inevitable. And while a coaching change has aided in Gauff’s journey, she’s been knocking on this door for a while. Last summer, she made her first Grand Slam final at the French Open but admittedly felt overwhelmed by the moment. She just hasn’t had all of the pieces snap into place – until now.

We have been spoiled by the dominance of players like Serena and Venus, Roger and Rafa. So with Gauff, there has been a sense of impatience, of wanting to see what we know Gauff is capable of – what Gauff knows what she is capable of. So: Has she finally done it? Has she finally broken through?

That’s a lot of pressure for a teenager. Many 19-year-olds are spending their Saturdays in fraternity basements or studying for midterms. Gauff will spend hers on one of tennis’ biggest stages.

This US Open final will not make or break Gauff’s career. The reality is, she has a long one ahead of her, one which likely will include a stint at the top of the world rankings. This run is only the beginning. We can’t expect her to attain the greatness of Serena Williams — but that’s because she’s Coco Gauff. She’s writing her own story, her own journey, and this, right here, is one of the chapters.

Gauff will win Saturday because she’s finally unlocked her potential. She’s been playing her opponents in a way that she hasn’t before – at times allowing them to beat themselves and knowing exactly when to apply the pressure needed. (Even if Jelena Ostapenko somehow expected more out of Gauff after a 6-0, 6-2 beatdown). She’s shown impeccable poise and wisdom throughout the tournament, a level of maturity that some 19-year-olds can only dream of. There’s never been a moment where she’s gotten too far ahead of herself.

A first round exit at Wimbledon may have been a stumbling block for others, but it pushed Gauff to be better. Since then, she’s won 17 of her last 18 matches and has taken home two WTA titles. Everything, it seems, has fallen into place, and the game is clicking. It’s one of those things that you can just see when watching her play: The way that she seems to have total control of the game, no matter what the score is. She’s everywhere on the court, all at once.

Why Aryna Sabalenka will win

Sabalenka knows she faces a tough test in the US Open final. But she’s ready for the fight.

“Going into this final, I think I just have to focus on myself and prepare myself for another fight,” she said Thursday. “You just have to be there and you have to fight for it.”

She knows the crowd will be behind Coco Gauff. But she’s not about to be the world No. 1 for no reason. On Thursday, she was blanked in the first set – the first 6-0 win in a US Open semifinal since 2013 – and down 5-3 in the second set to Madison Keys. But she never gave up the fight. She’s just the third woman in the Open Era to win a Grand Slam semifinal after losing the first set 6-0, joining Steffi Graf (1992 Roland Garros) and Ana Ivanovic (2008 Australian Open).

“I was all over the place,” Sabalenka said after the match. “I was just, like, ‘What can I do?’ Like, she’s playing unbelievable, just, like, crushing everything. I’m not able to do anything; I had zero control in the match.

“I just [kept] telling myself, I mean, ‘OK, there is going to be days like this [where] somebody’s going to just play their best tennis. You just have to keep trying, keep staying there and keep pushing it. Maybe you’ll be able to turn around this game.'”

Sabalenka’s biggest opponent has always been herself. And on Thursday, she won that battle, winning a tiebreak in the second set and again in the third to reach her first US Open final. Already a Grand Slam champion after winning the Australian Open title earlier this year, Sabalenka has been on a roll. Semifinal appearances at the French Open and Wimbledon were both career bests. She’s the first player since Serena Williams in 2016 to reach the semifinals in all four majors in the same season.

There’s not been anyone better on the tour this year than Sabalenka, not even current No. 1 Iga Swiatek.

On paper, Sabalenka is the better player. She’s weathered the biggest tests of her career and come out ahead. By no means will Saturday’s final be easy, and in fact it might prove to be one of the best major finals of the year, but Sabalenka has what it takes to weather whatever Gauff may throw at her and take home her second title of the year.

Iga Swiatek’s US Open run has come to an end.

The defending champion and world No. 1 lost in three sets in the Round of 16 Sunday to Jelena Ostapenko, who remains undefeated against Swiatek in her career. The loss means that Swiatek’s stay atop the WTA world rankings will end next week. Current No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka will overtake the top spot for the first time.

“I don’t know why I played that bad,” Swiatek said. “I’m not happy with my performances on hard courts this year. But overall, I did a pretty good job at maintaining my level. I’m happy I’m going to have time to practice because I miss that.

“I feel like I’m progressing as a player, but I have more skills. This season was tough and intense.”

Swiatek’s 75 consecutive weeks atop the world rankings in her first stint ranks third in history. Only Steffi Graf (186 weeks) and Martina Hingis (80 weeks) were atop the rankings for longer.

According to OptaJack, during that time Swiatek also holds the record for WTA titles (nine), finals (12), matches won (97), winning ratio (85.5 percent) and top-10 defeats (17).

“I wouldn’t say [I feel] relief,” Swiatek said, when asked about relinquishing the top spot in the rankings. “There are plenty of things that I know I should have done differently. Maybe I’m not mature enough yet to do that. I’m really working hard to not think about this stuff a lot.

“Sometimes when you force yourself not to think about stuff, the result is the opposite. I’m really happy that I have smart people around me and they are telling me how to do it, and they are guiding me. But it’s on me to actually make it happen.”

Still, the 22-year-old Polish star said that the next time she tops the rankings, she will do some things differently.

“Because yeah, it was a little bit stressful,” Swiatek said. “And it shouldn’t be. I mean, tennis is stressful overall, but I should embrace it a little bit more. And I’ll do it differently next time.”

Karolina Muchová has advanced to her first Grand Slam final after knocking off world No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka at the French Open.

The semifinal saw a tight battle, as Muchová went up 7-6 (7-5) in the first set over Sabalenka, taking the tiebreak. It was Sabalenka’s first dropped set in the French Open.

But the 25-year-old Belarusian did not go quietly. The second set went also went to a tiebreak, but Sabalenka forced a third set with a 7-6 (7-5) win.

While Sabalenka surged to a 5-2 lead, Muchová fought back, saving a match point at 40-15, holding serve and breaking Sabalenka before winning three straight games and pulling even at 5-5. From there, Muchová took a 6-5 lead, and then went up 40-0 in the final game before winning the match 7-5.

“I don’t really know what happened, the atmosphere, the people are just pushing me all the matches,” Muchová said on the court after her win. “It’s unbelievable, I just try to keep fighting and it worked. I really don’t know what happened, I’m so happy.”

Sabalenka entered the match having won her last seven matches when losing the first set. The most recent of those came in the Australian Open final, which she won to take her first Grand Slam title.

Muchová is the first person to beat Sabalenka in a Grand Slam this year. The 26-year-old from Czech Republic will face No. 1 Iga Swiatek, who defeated Beatriz Haddad Maia in straight sets, 6-2, 7-6 (9-7), in the other semifinal.

Ukrainian tennis player Elina Svitolina was booed at the French Open on Tuesday after refusing to shake the hand of her Belarusian opponent Aryna Sabalenka.

Sabalenka won the Grand Slam quarterfinal matchup in straight sets, then went to the net to shake the hand of her opponent. But Svitolina did not respond in kind, instead offering a thumbs up before she exited the court.

While Svitolina refused the handshake as an act of protest against the war in her home country, fans took issue with her snub of Sabalenka.

The lack of handshake is not a new response for Svitolina, who has refused to shake the hand of any Russian or Belarusian opponent since the beginning of the Russian-Ukrainian war. And she isn’t the only Ukrainian player to do so.

“We are Ukrainians, we all unite for one goal, for the goal of winning this war, and we do everything what is regarding on this topic,” she said on June 2. “I’m Ukrainian. I’m standing for my country. I’m doing everything possible in the way to support. … I’m representing my country. I have a voice. I’m standing with Ukraine.”

When asked about the boos, Svitolina said that she doesn’t pay attention to it that much.

“I’m not going to please everyone. I have my position and I stick to it,” she said. “I’m not going to sell my country for people’s sympathy.”

When asked if she believed that Sabalenka going to wait at the net for a handshake “inflamed” the situation, Svitolina agreed that it had.

“I don’t know what she was waiting for at the net, because my statements were clear enough about the handshake. I was expecting boos, it was not a surprise for me,” she said.

Russian player Daria Kasatkina followed her match against Svitolina earlier in the tournament with a thumbs up and was booed for it. Kasatkina has been outspoken in her criticism of the war, and last month expressed sympathy for Ukrainian tennis players who refuse to shake her hand following matches.

“Really thankful for her position that she took. She’s [a] really brave person to say it publicly, that not so many players did,” Svitolina said after their matchup. “She’s a brave one.”

Following the match, Kasatkina called out the crowd for their booing on Twitter.

“Leaving Paris with a very bitter feeling. All this days, after every match I’ve played in Paris I always appreciate and thanked crowd for support and being there for the players,” Kasatkina tweeted Monday. “But yesterday I was booed for just being respectful on my opponent’s position not to shake hands.

“Me and Elina showed respect to each other after a tough match but leaving the court like that was the worse part of yesterday. Be better, love each other. Don’t spread hate. Try to make this world better.”

Coco Gauff advanced to the French Open quarterfinals for the third consecutive year with a straight-sets win over Anna Karolina Schmiedlova.

With the win, the 19-year-old reaches her fourth career Grand Slam quarterfinal, where she will face No. 1 Iga Swiatek. Swiatek earned a 6-3, 6-1 win over Gauff in the 2022 championship match at Roland-Garros.

In Monday’s match against Schmiedlova, Gauff overcame a scraped knee during a tense first set and went on to claim a 7-5, 6-2 victory.

While Gauff came out on top in her fourth-round match, fellow U.S. star Sloane Stephens fell to No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka, 7-6 (7-5), 6-4, on Sunday.

Sabalenka raced out to a 5-0 lead in the first set, and while Stephens battled back to force a tiebreak, the 25-year-old Belarusian still prevailed to reach her first French Open quarterfinal.

“I think it was just a few key moments which I didn’t finish right, and then she started to believe in herself a little bit more,” Sabalenka said. “People started to support her more. She kind of played with that crush and was like going for the shots. I think she played unbelievable tennis.”

The Belarusian isn’t the only one to make her first trip to the quarterfinals. Beatriz Haddad Maia advanced to her first quarterfinals by taking down Sara Sorribes Tormo, becoming the first Brazilian to reach the French Open quarterfinals since 1968.

The three-set match between Haddad Maia and Sorribes Tormo lasted 3 hours and 41 minutes, the longest of the season and third-longest women’s match ever at Roland-Garros.

Ons Jabeur is also making her first French Open quarterfinal after defeating Bernarda Pera in the fourth round. Including this tournament, Jabeur has made the quarterfinals in each Grand Slam in her career. And Karolína Muchová is also appearing her first French Open quarterfinal.

2023 French Open: Quarterfinals

  • Tuesday, June 6
    • Karolína Muchová vs. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova — 5 a.m. ET
    • Elina Svitolina vs. Aryna Sabalenka — 6:30 a.m. ET
  • Wednesday, June 7
    • Coco Gauff vs. Iga Swiatek — TBD
    • Beatriz Haddad Maia vs. Ons Jabeur — TBD
  • All matches will be televised on the Tennis Channel.

Wimbledon banned Russian and Belarusian players from competition last year, but the Grand Slam is set to allow them to compete neutral athletes in 2023.

Players from Russia and Belarus will be required to sign declarations of neutrality and comply with “appropriate conditions,” which include not expressing their support for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Additionally, players cannot receive funding from Russian or Belarusian states, which includes sponsorship from companies that are operated or controlled by either country.

“We continue to condemn totally Russia’s illegal invasion and our wholehearted support remains with the people of Ukraine,” said Ian Hewitt, chairman of the All England Club, in a statement. “This was an incredibly difficult decision, not taken lightly or without a great deal of consideration for those who will be impacted.”

Athletes such as 2023 Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka, who is from Belarus, are affected by the announcement.

Last year, Wimbledon was the only Grand Slam to not allow Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete. Other tournaments have allowed players to compete under a neutral flag.

“We also consider alignment between the Grand Slams to be increasingly important in the current tennis environment,” the club said.

Wimbledon is set to begin on July 3.

Aryna Sabalenka won her first major on Saturday, taking home the Australian Open singles title.

While she had won doubles twice, she had never reached a final in a singles tournament, let alone won.

After going down 4-6 in the first set to Elena Rybakina, Sabalenka rebounded in the next two sets 6-3, 6-4 to take the comeback victory. With the win, she’ll rise to No. 2 in the world rankings on Monday.

“The last game, yeah, of course, I was a little bit nervous. I (kept) telling myself, like, ’Nobody tells you that it’s going to be easy.′ You just have to work for it, work for it, ’til the last point,” said Sabalenka. “I’m super happy that I was able to handle all those emotions and win this one.”

She was presented the trophy by Billie Jean King, who called the match “thrilling.”

“Both Sabalenka and Rybakina played so well,” she wrote in a social media post. “Honored to present Aryna with the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup.”

Earlier this week, King spoke out in support of Belrusian and Russian players, who have been banned from using their country’s name or flag by the WTA.

“Just keep it the same way as the other ones are. Life is too short,” she said when asked about the bans. “I think they should get prize money. Just have them play and get their money. It’s the ranking points, for sure. They have to have it.

“Rybakina, they’ve seeded her 25th, but because she won Wimbledon, she’s not [seeded higher]. We are a platform to have discussions on this, though, just like you’re asking. I think it’s important. The WTA was started for that, so we’d all have one voice, too, to help protect players.”

While Sabalenka spoke plenty with reporters after the match, her first words as a Grand Slam champion were directed at King, with Sabalenka thanking the tennis legend.

“It’s such an inspiration to receive the trophy from you,” she said. “Thank you so much for everything you’ve done for our sport. I couldn’t be more thankful.”

Iga Świątek took down No. 3 seed Aryna Sabalenka 6-2, 6-2 in Stuttgart on Sunday for her fourth straight title on the WTA tour. The World No. 1 hoisted the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix trophy after an 84-minute victory, marking her 23rd consecutive win.

The 20-year-old joins an elite group of players with the longest win streaks since 2000. Świątek tied Naomi Osaka at ninth on the list, 12 wins behind leader Venus Williams.

“A few years ago, I wouldn’t even think about being in this kind of group,” Świątek said after Sunday’s match. “For sure right now, I need to work harder to keep this streak, but I’m just going to take it match by match, and I’m super proud of myself and really satisfied.”

Świątek has now won seven consecutive finals without dropping a set. The top-ranked player was utterly dominant against Sabalenka, firing 17 winners and winning 77 percent of her first-service points.

“I worked hard this week to adjust properly and to play my best tennis on the surface, so I’m really proud of myself,” she said.