The Chinese Zheng Qinwen, 15th in the world, will challenge the Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka for her first Grand Slam final after her victory Thursday in the semi against the Ukrainian qualifying Dayana Yastremska (93rd), 6-4, 6-4.
Zheng Qinwen is only the second Chinese woman to reach the final of a major tournament. She will challenge world No.2 and defending champion Sabalenka on Saturday, who defeated Coco Gauff earlier Thursday in Melbourne. Ten years after the triumph in Melbourne of her compatriot Li Na, also winner of Roland-Garros in 2011, the 21-year-old Chinese is one match away from a first Grand Slam title.
It put an end to the epic of Dayana Yastremska, who had won eight matches in a row in Melbourne, including qualifying, to reach the last four. The Ukrainian forced the No.12 seed of the tournament to work hard, but was not sufficiently successful in realizing her opportunities during the decisive moments (1/4 successful break points).
The Chinese made the difference in the second set, confirming the break obtained at 3-3, to fly to a victory in 1h42. “It’s incredible, it’s complicated to explain what I feel,” she declared on court after the match.
The one who was already assured of entering the WTA Top 10 after her victory in the previous round against the Russian Anna Kalinskaya continues her progress after a year 2023 marked by a quarter-final at the US Open in September. She had failed to qualify for the semi-final, swept away in two sets (6-1, 6-4) by... Aryna Sabalenka. She will therefore meet this opponent on the Rod Laver Arena on Saturday.
The Belarusian, winner of the Australian Major in 2023, got the better of world No.4 Coco Gauff 7-6 (7/2), 6-4, and has still not lost a single set in Melbourne this year.