Melbourne, Jan 25 (IANS) Zheng Qinwen has etched her name into the annals of tennis history, storming into her first Grand Slam final at the Australian Open 2024. The 12th seed, hailing from China, secured a commanding 6-4, 6-4 victory over qualifier Dayana Yastremska in an exhilarating showdown that lasted an hour and 42 minutes, here at the Rod Laver Arena.
While Zheng encountered some challenges with her first serve, her relentless pursuit of victory propelled her to become the first Chinese player since Li Na in 2014 to reach a major final at the Australian Open. The 21-year-old, starting the tournament as the world No.15, now stands on the cusp of breaking into the top 10 when the new rankings are unveiled on Monday.
Supported fervently by vocal fans at Rod Laver Arena, Zheng’s remarkable journey to the final showcases not only her individual brilliance but also underscores the growing prominence of Chinese tennis on the global stage.
Zheng’s path to the championship clash is set against the defending champion Aryna Sabalenka. Earlier, the second seed, with a 1-0 record against Zheng, secured her spot in the final by overcoming the formidable challenge of reigning US Open champion Coco Gauff in straight sets.
The upcoming Saturday night showdown promises to be a spectacle, with Sabalenka aiming to retain her title and Zheng seeking to make history with a Grand Slam triumph. Their previous encounter in the quarterfinals of the US Open saw Sabalenka maintaining a clean slate against Zheng, not facing a single break point.