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Sabalenka Reaches Australian Open Final
By Burton Vanderfliet, Lawn Tennis Analyst, Posted: Thursday, January 25, 2024 8:13am PST USA
Aryna Sabalenka Reaches Australian Open Final Melbourne--Thursday in the semifinals of the Australian Open at Melbourne, the women's defending champion and second seeded Aryna Sabalenka showed aggressive groundstrokes and a powerful serve to defeat the fourth seeded Coco Gauff of the USA 7-6(7-2), 6-4 to reach the final round.

The 25 year old Sabalenka took a 5-2 set one lead before the 19 year old Gauff fought back to level the set at five games all.

Serving down breakpoint, Sabalenka struck a crosscourt

Aryna Sabalenka
Lawn Tennis
Sabalenka won 11 of the last 13 set one points.

forehand wide to drop serve and trail 5-6.

However, serving at 6-5 30-40, Gauff hit a down the line forehand long to lose serve and enter a tiebreaker.

In the tiebreaker, Sabalenka struck several powerful forehand winners to take a 4-0 lead before outhitting Gauff to take a one set lead.

Sabalenka won 11 of the last 13 set one points.

Serving in set two at four games all 15-30, Gauff struck a second serve ace down the tee to reach 30 all.

Sabalenka hit a crosscourt backhand winner to reach 30-40 before Gauff struck a crosscourt backhand wide to lose serve and trail 4-5.

Serving for the match, Sabalenka hit a down the line forehand winner which she followed up with a 106 miles per hour ace out wide to lead 30-15.

Gauff saved a matchpoint with a down the line forehand winner before Sabalenka stuck a 119 miles per hour ace down the tee to hold a final matchpoint.

Gauff netted a crosscourt backhand return to end the match after one hour and 42 minutes of play. The two players embraced at the net.

Gauff showcased an improved serve and forehand including hitting a 125 miles per hour serve but it was not enough to stop Sabalenka from winning her 13th straight Melbourne match.

Sabalenka, who was defeated by Gauff in September's US Open final in New York, today cut her errors while remaining aggressive to extract a measure of revenge against the younger American.

In Saturday's Melbourne final, Sabalenka faces the 12th seeded Qinwen Zheng of China.

Zheng has not yet faced a seeded player at this year's tournament.

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