This live page is now closed. Thanks for joining us. These were the updates as Aryna Sabalenka beat Zheng Qinwen (6-3, 6-2) to win the 2024 Australian Open women’s singles title on Saturday, January 27:
- Sabalenka wins back-to-back Australian Open titles, cruising to a straight sets victory over Zheng in the final at the Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne Park.
- Second-seeded Sabalenka was the defending champion, while the 12th-seeded Zheng was playing her first Grand Slam final.
- The 25-year-old Belarusian, who briefly displaced Iga Swiatek at number one in the rankings last season, had previously faced the 21-year-old from China only once, beating Zheng in the US Open quarterfinals a few months ago.
- Zheng will make her debut in the top 10 in Monday’s rankings, despite the loss.With that, Sabalenka becomes the first woman to win back-to-back Australian Open titles since Victoria Azarenka in 2012-13.
The Belarusian once again displayed a terrific exhibition of power-packed tennis, and continues her strong run of form on the back of a successful 2023 campaign.
And spare a thought for first-time Grand Slam finalist, Zheng.
She played some wonderful tennis to get to this stage, but Sabalenka was a bridge too far.
Do join us tomorrow as we cover the men’s singles final between Daniil Medvedev and Jannik Sinner, which should certainly be an entertaining contest.
Thank you for keeping us company today, and on behalf of Al Jazeera Sport, this is Rohan Sharma signing off.
To lift this trophy one more time is unbelievable’
A jubilant Sabalenka lifts the Australian Open trophy and shared her views post-match.
“I want to congratulate Zheng. I know it is tough to lose in the finals but you are an incredible player and you are young. I am sure you will be back here again. Congrats to you and your team,” she said.
“I am going to cry. Thanks to everyone for making this tournament happen. Thanks to everyone who helped me these last two weeks. To lift this trophy one more time is unbelievable. As always my speech is going to be a little weird,” she added with a laugh.
“Team, just – wow. I put a little pressure on them after the Brisbane final, and we did a little better in this one. Thanks for being by my side. Without you I wouldn’t have achieved so much in this sport. Thank you for everything you have done for me, but without me you wouldn’t be as good so let’s accept that fact,” she said, laughing.
“Thank you so much for to my family. You are my biggest motivation. Everything I do, I do for you.”
‘I feel I could do better’
A visibly disappointed Zheng collects the runners-up trophy and had this to say after the match: “First of all I want to say congrats to Aryna [Sabalenka] for winning the match. It is my first final and I am feeling a little pity, but that is how it is.
“It is an experience for me. Thanks to all the fans who came to watch me.
“I feel very complicated. I feel I could do better than what I did in this match. Thanks to my team for helping me get here. I really enjoyed playing in this Australian Open. It was an amazing memory for me and I am sure it will be even better in the future. Thank you.”
Sabalenka wins the 2024 Australian Open!
Sabalenka wrests advantage with a powerful wide serve down the left side which Zheng is unable to control.
But Zheng is able to reset the game back at deuce after Sabalenka finds the net.
It is Zheng’s turn to take advantage after Sabalenka’s defensive forehand return goes long.
Sabalenka delivers a clutch ace down the right side to take it back to deuce.
Zheng takes advantage after Zheng’s overhit return to earn a fifth championship point.
Sabalenka wins the 2024 Australian Open with a crisp cross-court forehand winner down the left side as she raises both arms in triumph.
A promise to her late father is kept as she secures her second Grand Slam title by the age of 25.
Crucial game goes to deuce
Zheng sends her forehand into the net to make it 15-love.
She then wildly mishits her backhand out of bounds on the right side to make it 30-0.
The Chinese player sends her backhand into the net to give Sabalenka three championship points.
Zheng gets some luck after Sabalenka sends her forehand wide down the left side, then hits another long on the right.
Zheng sends it to deuce soon after with a delicate backhand drop shot.
Sabalenka 6-3, 5-2 Zheng
Zheng successfully holds to stay alive
Zheng jumps to a 30-0 lead with an unreal cross-court forehand winner which just finds the line on the left side.
Sabalenka’s accurate backhand return down the left side is too much for Zheng to handle to make it 30-15.
Zheng goes up 40-15 after Sabalenka goes long on her backhand.
Sabalenka goes wide on the right to allow Zheng to successfully hold.
The Belarusian now has a great opportunity to serve for the championship.
Sabalenka 6-3, 5-2 Zheng
Sabalenka within touching distance
Sabalenka sends her forehand into the net to make it 0-15.
Another unforced error, this time on her backhand gives Zheng a valuable 0-30 lead.
But Sabalenka gets her opponent to overhit her backhand to get back into the game at 15-30.
Zheng once again misses the mark with her baseline return to square it at 30-all.
Sabalenka storms to a 40-30 lead with a powerful first serve that Zheng is unable to control.
Sabalenka closes out her opponent with a powerful forehand winner down the right side.
She is just a game away now, and Zheng will be feeling all the pressure to extend this match further.
Sabalenka 6-3, 5-1 Zheng
Sabalenka extends lead to 4-1
A sixth double fault allows Sabalenka to take advantage.
Sabalenka issues a delicate backhand drop shot of her own which Zheng is unable to get to.
She successfully breaks her opponent to be just two games away from winning a second Grand Slam.
Sabalenka 6-3, 4-1 Zheng
Fifth game goes to deuce
Zheng places the most delicate of drop shots which proves out of reach for her opponent.
Sabalenka’s cross-court backhand is too good as Zheng sends her return wide down the right side to make it 15-all.
Zheng commits a double fault to make it 15-30.
Sabalenka fails to get a backhand volley over the net to make it 30-all.
Zheng’s kick serve sends Sabalenka wide, giving her the opportunity to place a deep backhand winner down the left side.
But an unforced error from the Chinese player sends the game to deuce.
Sabalenka 6-3, 3-1 Zheng
Sabalenka extends second set lead
Zheng’s backhand goes long to give Sabalenka the early lead.
Zheng delivers an immaculate backhand return down the right side which just catches the baseline to make it 15-all.
Sabalenka is unnerved by the extra bounce on Zheng’s return to go wide on the left side.
The Belarusian makes it 30-all with a powerful overhead smash down the left side.
Sabalenka’s backhand is too good for her opponent as she takes a 40-30 lead.
She closes out the game to take a 3-1 lead in the second.
Sabalenka 6-3, 3-1 Zheng
Zheng holds in crucial game
Sabalenka overruns a forehand return down the left side to give Zheng advantage.
There is a momentary delay after a protester chants in the crowd, but they are soon removed by security personnel.
Zheng successfully holds with a fiery first serve which Sabalenka is unable to put away.
Sabalenka 6-3, 2-1 Zheng
Game goes to deuce
Zheng sends her backhand into the net to make it 15-all.
But she is able to fire a forehand winner in the open court on the right side to go up 30-15.
Sabalenka overhits her forehand to make it 40-15.
Sabalenka battles back to win the next two points to send the game to deuce.
Sabalenka 6-3, 2-0 Zheng
Sabalenka breaks to make it 2-0 in the second
The Belarusian sends her forehand into the net to make it 0-15.
Zheng sends her backhand return well wide down the left side to make it 15-all.
Sabalenka crushes a powerful ace down the middle to go up 30-15.
The Belarusian mishits her defensive forehand lob to square the game at 30-all.
Zheng goes long on her forehand to make it 40-30.
She then commits an unforced backhand error into the net to give Sabalenka a 2-0 lead in the second set.
Sabalenka 6-3, 2-0 Zheng
Sabalenka breaks to take opening game of second set
Sabalenka’s impressive 94 percent on first serve points won is the difference in that first set when compared to Zheng’s 75 percent.
The Belarusian goes long on her backhand to make it 15-love.
Zheng gets to 30-love before double-faulting to make it 30-15.
Another double fault squares the opening game at 30-all.
Sabalenka fires in a low cross-court forehand winner which Zheng is unable to track down to earn a break point.
Sabalenka successfully breaks as Zheng commits her third double fault in the game.
Sabalenka 6-3, 1-0 Zheng
Sabalenka wins opening set
Sabalenka fires a powerful wide serve down the right to go up 15-love.
She misses the mark on her forehand winner down the left side to make it 15-all.
Zheng has no answer for the wide serve that follows as the score moves to 30-15.
She tries to catch the line on the right side, but just strays out of bounds to give Sabalenka a double set point.
Zheng issues a scorching forehand return to catch Sabalenka off guard, before following up with another to make it 40-30.
But Sabalenka has the final say with a powerful wide serve down the left side.
Zheng is unable to control the backhand return as Sabalenka holds to win the first set.Sabalenka 6-3 Zheng
Zheng successfully holds
Sabalenka commits an unforced error on her backhand to give Zheng advantage.
Zheng shows nerves by double-faulting for the first time to take it back to deuce.
But she follows with her sixth ace down the left side to once again wrest advantage.
Sabalenka fails to contain another strong first serve as her backhand goes over the line.
Sabalenka 5-3 Zheng
Zheng takes it to deuce
Zheng is struggling with Sabalenka’s power as her return ends up hitting the umpire’s chair.
Zheng struggles to contain her deep forehand return to make it 0-30.
She goes long again to give Sabalenka triple set point.
The Chinese player sends down a well-placed ace down the middle to make it 15-40.
She follows up by sending a wide serve down the left, before attacking the open space on the right with a forehand winner.
Zheng sends it to deuce with another ace.
Sabalenka 5-2 Zheng
Sabalenka on brink of winning first set
The game is squared at 15-all after Salabenka sends her forehand into the net.
Zheng misses the mark down the left side to make it 30-15.
Zheng fails to contain Sabalenka’s raw power with an overhit backdown down the right side to make it 40-15.
Sabalenka ends the game with another blistering forehand which Zheng sends wide.
Sabalenka 5-2 Zheng
Zheng holds to stay within touching distance
Sabalenka finds the net to make it 15-love.
The Belarusian attacks Zheng’s second serve with a powerful forehand down the left side to make it 15-all.
Sabalenka goes long on her baseline return to make it 30-15.
Zheng follows up with a strong wide serve down the left which her opponent is unable to rein in.
Zheng closes out the game with an ace down the middle.
Sabalenka 4-2 Zheng
Sabalenka extends opening set lead
A powerful service game allows Sabalenka to win all four points on the trot in quick time.
With that, she earns a dangerous 4-1 lead.
Zheng will need to win this next game to avoid Sabalenka serving for the opening set.
Sabalenka 4-1 Zheng
Zheng holds to win first game
Zheng issues a wide serve before finishing the point with a strong forehand winner down the right side to get an early lead.
She follows up with a 109mph (175kmph) ace down the middle to make it 30-love.
A well-placed first serve gives her a 40-0 lead.
Zheng seals the deal to get back into this contest.
Sabalenka 3-1 Zheng
Sabalenka builds lead in opening set
Sabalenka comes back from 0-40 to take advantage after Zheng’s backhand finds the net.
The Belarusian completes the fight back after Zheng commits another unforced error into the net.
Zheng would have badly wanted to win that game to help settle her nerves as her opponent moves to 3-0 in the opening set.
Sabalenka 3-0 Zheng
Third game goes to deuce
Zheng lobs one over Sabalenka on the right side, who is up to the net, to go up 0-15.
Sabalenka overhits her forehand on the right to make it 0-30.
She once again goes long in the same region to give Zheng an invaluable triple break point.
Zheng misses her deep baseline return on the left side to allow Sabalenka to creep back in at 15-40.
Zheng finds the net as Sabalenka battles to 30-40.
Sabalenka sends it to deuce with a blistering backhand down the left side.
Sabalenka 2-0 Zheng
Sabalenka successfully breaks
Zheng goes wide on the left side to allow Sabalenka the early lead.
She follows up with a strong 111mph first serve which Sabalenka sends into the net on her backhand to make it 15-all.
But Zheng misses the mark again on the left side to make it 15-30.
Zheng clips the net on an attempted backhand return to give Sabalenka a double break point.
The Chinese player is unable to contain Sabalenka’s raw power as she goes wide on the right on her return.
Sabalenka 2-0 Zheng
Sabalenka cruises to opening game win
Sabalenka begins authoritatively with a forehand winner down the right, which Zheng is unable to run down.
She goes up 30-0 with a powerful ace that is too good for her opponent.
She follows up with another 111mph ace that Zheng strains to reach.
Zheng goes long on her baseline return to allow Sabalenka to hold.
Sabalenka 1-0 Zheng
Sabalenka to serve
The toss has been taken, and it is Sabalenka who will serve first.
It is a cloudy, cooler night in Melbourne than the players (and fans) would have expected.
A slight breeze blows over the court as we ready ourselves for this absorbing matchup.
Zheng leads the way out of the tunnel, with 2023 Australian Open champion Sabalenka in tow.
There should be plenty of support for Zheng given this is the Asia Pacific Grand Slam.
Australian Open prize money
The world’s best tennis players are competing for 86.5 million Australian dollars ($57m) in prize money. This is a 13 percent increase from last year.
“We’ve upped prize money for every round at the Australian Open with the major increases in qualifying and the early rounds of singles and doubles,” Australian Open tournament director, Craig Tiley, said.
“It is critical to the continued success of the Australian Open that we ensure that the best players in the world are compensated appropriately as we know this allows players to invest in their own careers and in many c
for success throughout the year.”
Men’s and women’s singles:
- Winner: $2,130,975
- Runner-up: $1,166,963
- Semifinalist: $669,735
- Quarterfinalist: $405,900
- Round 4: $253,688
- Round 3: $172,508
- Round 2: $121,770
- Round 1: $81,180
Here’s what to know about today’s Australian Open game
Sabalenka is aiming to be the first woman since Victoria Azarenka in 2013 to successfully defend the women’s title at Melbourne Park. She has not dropped a set in this tournament.
Zheng is the only player in the last 40 years to win six matches over opponents ranked outside the top 50 en route to a Grand Slam final. She will make her debut in the top 10 rankings at number six or seven when the new list is released after the Australian Open.
FanDuel Sportsbook has Sabalenka as a strong favourite to win her second consecutive title in Australia.
She’s at minus-600 while Zheng sits at plus-440. A plus figure represents longer odds, in which case you’ll win more for your wager, while a minus figure means you’re betting on a more likely outcome – as deemed by FanDuel.
Melbourne’s time zone is 16 hours ahead of the East Coast of the US. When the women’s final between Sabalenka and Zheng begins at 7:30pm local time (08:30 GMT), it’ll be 3:30am ET, 11:30am in Doha and 9:30am Central European time (CET).