Back in 2012 and 2013 Victoria Azarenka won back-to-back Australian Open titles.
2023-24 has seen her countrywoman repeat the achievement. Aryna Sabalenka defeating China’s Zheng Qingwen 6-3, 6-2.
Azarenka was the last to win 2 straight titles.
Like back in 2013 it was a Chinese player that took on the defending champion.
Zheng had an easy path to the final as the seeds in her half fell early, most noteably world no. 1 Iga Swiatek losing in the third round.
This was not a tournament for the top seeds. Seven of the top-10 were eliminated by the end of the third round.
The big surprise was to see Zheng facing a qualifier in the semifinals. Zheng booked her place in the final with a 6-4, 6-4 victory over Ukraine’s Dayana Yastremska.
In the final it was the world no. 2 and defending champion, Sabalenka that got off to a flying start, she held to love.
In the next game Sabalenka got the first break of the match to lead 2-0.
Zheng then looked to break back immediately when she held three break points however Sabalenka lifted when it mattered the most.
Also the stats were against Zheng. She has a break right back percentage of 27%, the top 100 average is 37%.
Sabalenka would not be troubled again on served until what would be the final game of the match.
After looking likely to serve out the championship match to love, Zheng mounted a fightback and held a break point. Three points later the match was over and Azarenka would be collecting the Daphne Akhurst trophy.
The 2024 title run was a dominating performance. The world no. 2 didn’t drop a set across the fortnight.
Sabalenka defeated fellow Grand Slam singles champions in the quarterfinals when defeating Barbora Krejcikova and in the semifinals defeating Coco Gauff.
Gauff was actually serving for the first set in the semifinal at 6-5 after a five breaks of serve, a sixth break of serve saw the set decided in a tiebreaker.
In 2023 Sabalenka won the Australian Open, was a semifinalist at both Roland Garros and Wimbledon, then she was the runnerup at the US Open.
With the way Sabalenka dominated at this tournament it is possible to thing she could win all four majors in 2024.