Aryna Sabalenka successfully defended her Australian Open women’s title on Saturday, dismantling China’s Zheng Qinwen 6-3 6-2 in the final in Melbourne and completing a dominant tournament in which she did not drop a single set.
The Belarusian unleashed her supply of powerful groundstrokes from the very start, completely overpowering the No. 12 seed and pinning her far behind the baseline for the majority of the 76-minute long match.
Such a powerful display marked a continuation of Sabalenka’s impressive tournament in which the world No. 2 swept aside every opponent on her route to the final in comfortable fashion.
And she clinched her second grand slam title in similar fashion, becoming the first woman to win two consecutive Australian Open titles since her compatriot Victoria Azarenka achieved the feat more in 2012-13.
“It’s been an amazing couple of weeks and I couldn’t imagine myself lifting this trophy one more time,” the 25-year-old said on court afterwards. “It’s an unbelievable feeling right now and I’m really speechless and as always, my speech is going to be weird. It’s not my superpower but I’ll try my best.”
Despite falling short at the final hurdle, it marked an impressive tournament for Zheng too as she reached a grand slam final for the first time in her nascent career and ensured that she will rise to world No. 7, her debut in the top 10 of the rankings.
Sabalenka enjoyed the best possible start to Saturday’s final, rattling off a hold to love in the first game and breaking Zheng in the second as the Chinese star initially struggled to find a foothold in the match.
The 21-year-old had three opportunities to immediately break back, offering up an early twist in the narrative, but Sabalenka defended them all, and cruised through the first set from that point on, engineering three set points on Zheng’s serve.
Though Zheng delivered under pressure, defending all three and forcing another game, she could not hold back the tide for much longer and Sabalenka wrapped up the first set in just 33 minutes.
Serving first in the second set, Zheng had an opportunity to recalibrate but three double faults in that first game stymied any attempt to build momentum and handed Sabalenka an early break.
That break coupled with Sabalenka’s powerful serve – she lost just six points on her first serve throughout the match – consolidated the Belarusian’s hold on the final and, until she served for the tournament, she never looked troubled again.
Zheng’s serve cracked once more with another two double faults in the same game, allowing Sabalenka to go a double break up and though she battled until the very end, saving four championship points, the defending Australian Open champion sealed the tournament at her fifth attempt.
And by sealing victory with such a dominant display, she became the first woman since Serena Williams in 2007 to win the Australian Open final without dropping a single service game.
This story has been updated with additional information.
For more CNN news and newsletters create an account at CNN.com