Qinwen Zheng writes history, reaching the final of the Australian Open 2024

The Chinese will face Aryna Sabalenka in the upcoming final, scheduled on Saturday

by Lorenzo Ciotti
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Qinwen Zheng writes history, reaching the final of the Australian Open 2024
© Julian Finney / Staff Getty Images Sport

The young Qinwen Zheng has made the history of Chinese tennis, becoming the youngest tennis player from her country capable of reaching the final in a Grand Slam tournament. The 21-year-old didn't let the pressure of being the favorite affect her and she defeated Dayana Yastremska with doubles 6-4, winning the semifinal of the Australian Open 2024.

The Ukrainian deserves a special mention, because starting from the qualifiers she lived a true dream and only the time spent on the court prevented her from competing to her full potential in the semi-final.

Yastremska has defeated players like Marketa Vondrousova, Emma Navarro and Victoria Azarenka along the way, and she can look to the future with optimism.

Qinwen Zheng will face Aryna Sabalenka in the final

Zheng, for her part, will enter the top 10 and has reached her first Slam final without facing a single top 50. On the other side of the net will be Aryna Sabalenka. The Belarusian beat Coco Gauff in straight sets to avenge the final loss at the US Open. The only precedent between the two dates back to the last edition of the last Major of the season, when Sabalenka won with a clear 6-1, 6-4, in the quarter-finals.

The match between Zheng and Yastremska was not exciting: both were unable to hide the initial tension. The Ukrainian scored the first break of the day by taking advantage of the depth of her shots, but hit a painful double fault on the chance offered to her rival at 2-0.

Qinwen Zheng
Qinwen Zheng© Cameron Spencer / Staff Getty Images Sport
 

The Chinese player acquired greater solidity and found the decisive overtaking at 3-3, thanks to the backhand sent meters beyond the baseline by Yastremska. The 23-year-old began experiencing abdominal discomfort and received a brief treatment in the affected area.

In the second set, it was Zheng's turn to nullify the break and put her opponent back in the running. The tennis player born in 2002, however, surprised Yastremska at 3-3 and closed the score by serving her without further worries.

"She started very well and it was very difficult for me. It's the first time I've reached a Slam final: I realized the dream I've had since I was little. Sabalenka? She's a fantastic player and I imagine she'll give her all in the final. Last time I wasn't used to it, now I'll come to the appointment with more experience. I have to stay focused on my game and manage my emotions," Zheng told Eurosport.

Qinwen Zheng Australian Open Aryna Sabalenka
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