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Aryna Sabalenka successfully defends her title in Melbourne with victory against Qinwen Zheng


Aryna Sabalenka sealed a second straight Australian Open title with a masterful performance against first-time Grand Slam finalist Qinwen Zheng in Melbourne on Saturday.

The world No 2 did not drop a set in seven matches and defeated China's Zheng 6-3 6-2 to become the first player since countrywoman Victoria Azarenka 11 years ago to claim back-to-back titles here.

Zheng, who had not yet faced a top-50 opponent until the final, is the first Chinese player to make it to a Grand Slam decider since Li Na won the title here a decade ago, could not cope with Sabalenka's ruthless power throughout the contest which lasted 76 minutes.

Sabalenka came into the match without dropping a set at the year's first major and stayed perfect to join Ashleigh Barty, Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova and Lindsay Davenport in the elite club of players to have managed the feat since 2000.

Sabelenka unleashed monster groundstrokes to grab the final by the scruff of the neck with an early break and thousands of Chinese supporters and millions back home watched Zheng fall behind 3-0.

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