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Other SportsAustralian Open 2024, women's singles final: Preview, how to watch and prediction

Australian Open 2024, women’s singles final: Preview, how to watch and prediction

The Headliners

Aryna Sabalenka’s defence of the Australian Open crown she won in 2023 has been something of a cruise to this point.

The powerful right-hander has been on court for less than seven hours for her six matches at Melbourne Park this year, seeing off Ella Seidel, Brenda Fruhvirtova, Lesia Tsurenko, Amanda Anisimova, Barbora Krejcikova and Coco Gauff in quick time.

She could now become just the fifth player to win the women’s’ singles title without dropping a set since the turn of the millennium, after Ash Barty (2022), Serena Williams (2017), Maria Sharapova (2008) and Lindsay Davenport (2000).

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The ultra-consistent Belarusian has reached at least the semi-finals of the last six grand slams, and she has a point to prove in Saturday’s final after losing to Gauff in the US Open showpiece last September.

“Of course, I’m super happy to be in another final of a grand slam,” the 25-year-old said after avenging that defeat in the last four on Friday. “Hopefully I can do a little bit better than the last time.

“I would say emotionally I’ll be very ready to fight. Not going crazy, because when you play your first final, you can get emotional and rush things sometimes.”

Standing in her way is the latest breakout star of the women’s game, with Zheng Qinwen looking to become the first Chinese player to win a major singles title since Li Na memorably triumphed at Melbourne Park exactly 10 years before Saturday’s match.

Zheng will be cheered on by millions of fans across China on Saturday, but far from feeling the pressure, the world number 15 is relishing the chance to clinch a career-defining triumph.

“At the beginning I felt it’s a responsibility, sometimes a pressure. But now I’m just trying to focus on myself,” she said of the support from home.

“I’m happy I received a lot of fans who came to support me here and also in front of the TV, across China and across the whole world.”

Zheng was beaten in straight sets when she met Sabalenka in the US Open quarter-finals four months ago – can she succeed where others have failed on Saturday, and at least provide the favourite with a stern test?

When and how to watch

Like the rest of the tournament, the women’s singles final will be available to watch live on Discovery+ and Eurosport in the United Kingdom. The match is scheduled to get under way at 08:30 UK time, on Rod Laver Arena.

Prediction

While Zheng has been playing the best tennis of her career at Melbourne Park, her big-hitting opponent approaches Saturday’s final as the clear favourite.

Zheng will have to find consistency on her serve; her tournament-leading 48 aces are double Sabalenka’s 24, but she also tops the charts for double faults with 35.

Sabalenka’s power, meanwhile, could simply prove too much. She makes a habit of finding the corners with huge groundstrokes before approaching the net for her winners, and she should have enough about her for another straight-sets victory on Saturday.

Harry Carr
Harry Carr
Harry is a freelance sports journalist with experience of working for the Racing Post, Stats Perform, Opta Analyst and more, covering major events across all sports but holding a particular love for the beautiful game.
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