The feeling between Aryna Sabalenka and the Australian Open is really strong. The Belarusian player qualified for her second consecutive final in Melbourne where, to defend the title, she will have to beat the very young Chinese Qinwen Zheng.
In the semifinal of the tournament, the former WTA No.1 took revenge on Coco Gauff, showing great improvements in managing emotions. The first set was emblematic, when she found herself down 5-6 after having been ahead 5-2. The Belarusian didn't let go, broke the American and won the tie-break.
An extremely funny moment occurred at the end of the match, after the on-court interview. While Sabalenka was preparing to leave the court and she was autographing, someone from the crowd shouted to her: "Aryna, I love you more than my mom!"
Below the video shared by @popalorena sccount:
"Aryna, i love you more than my mom" 😭😭😭 pic.twitter.com/RDB2GAM90F— LorenaPopa 🕵️♀️🎾 (@popalorena) January 25, 2024
Aryna Sabalenka analyzes her win against Coco Gauff
"It was an incredible match. She is a great player and we always have tough battles against each other. I think the key was my ability to stay focused regardless of the score and what was happening. I continued to fight and do my best. I'm super happy to be in a Slam final again, I hope I can do better than last time!" said Sabalenka at the press conference, before highlighting the difference between the match lost at the US Open against Gauff and today's match.
"In New York I played too passively, I didn't put pressure on her. During the off-season I worked on shots that allow you to gain the net and close. I'm happy it worked today, I think it made the difference compared to the match played at the US Open.
From 5-2 to 5-6? In my head I was letting go of that set. I said to myself: Okay, I'll keep fighting. This is what I meant when I said I want to fight without thinking about the score. Obviously it's tough to defend the title in a Slam, but I'm trying to ignore the pressure and stay focused. There's only one match left and I'll do my best."
On the final with Zheng, she explressed: "We have only played against each other once, but we have often trained together, even here before the start of the tournament. She is a really good girl and she plays fantastic tennis. It will be a great battle. "