(2) Aryna Sabalenka (12.90) vs (12) Zheng Qinwen (12.64)
By defeating US Open champion Coco Gauff in the semifinals, Sabalenka has now reached three hard-court finals in a row. The 2022 Australian Open champion is looking to become the first player since Victoria Azarenka in 2013 to successfully defend her trophy in Melbourne. Sabalenka has also appeared in six straight Grand Slam semifinals, becoming the first woman to do so since Serena Williams.
Join UTR Sports, the largest racquet community in the world! Click here to get started.Zheng is the first Chinese player to make it to a Grand Slam final since Li Na won the Australian Open in 2014. At just 21, Zheng’s also the youngest Chinese player to get this far, as Li was 29.
“It feels unbelievable. I’m super-excited to have such a great performance today and arrive in the final,” Zheng said. “That’s my dream since I was a kid."
Incredibly, Sabalenka will be the first seed player Zheng is facing this fortnight. She eased past qualifier Dayana Yastremska in straight sets in the quarterfinals.
Sabalenka and Zheng have met just once, in the US Open quarterfinals. In that encounter, Sabalenka dominated by a 6-1, 6-4 scoreline. There’s a lot more on the line in this second meeting, but the 25-year-old Sabalenka seems to have the right attitude.
“It's just another match, and you're able to separate yourself from that thing, just focus on your game, that's it, actually…” Sabalenka said. “I'm [the] defending champion, but worst case, I'm, like, OK, I'm going to lose this tournament, and [it’ll be] less points to defend next year. Then that's it. That's kind of like helping me to just stay focused and just try [my] best in each match without thinking about defending something.”
Head-to-head UTR INSIGHTS on Sabalenka vs. Zheng
Though Zheng is on a rapid trajectory to her first time inside the WTA Top 10, Sabalenka has the stronger recent win-loss record at 69-20 compared to Zheng’s 44-23.
INSIGHTS is expecting Sabalenka to raise her second Grand Slam trophy aloft with 65% odds.