An authoritative Aryna Sabalenka blew China’s Zheng Qinwen off court to successfully defend her Australian Open title, becoming the first woman to do so in more than a decade.
The Belarusian world number two proved too powerful for the 12th seed with a 6-3, 6-2 drubbing in 76 minutes to claim her second Grand Slam crown on Rod Laver Arena.
The last time the tournament witnessed a successful women’s title defence was in 2013, when fellow Belarusian Victoria Azarenka achieved the feat.
Despite the loss, it has been a breakthrough tournament for Zheng, who will move into the world’s top 10 when the new rankings are released next week.
Sabalenka will remain at number two behind Iga Swiatek, who crashed out in the third round.