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Australian Open 2024: China's Zheng into maiden Slam final, ends run of qualifier Yastremska

By Vincent Ashitey
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China's Zheng Qinwen ended the fairytale run of qualifier Dayana Yastremska at the Australian Open on Thursday with a 6-4 6-4 victory to reach her first Grand Slam final, where she will face defending champion Aryna Sabalenka.

The points were short and sharp for most of the battle and followed the same pattern in both sets, with the two swapping breaks early on then Zheng snaring the extra break in the seventh game both times.

In the first set, Zheng was able to keep up the pressure on Yastremska, blasting cross-court winners off both wings, and left the 23-year-old Ukrainian clutching her abdomen in pain.

After taking a medical timeout off court, Yastremska returned with Zheng holding in the next game.

The Ukrainian extended the set winning the following game with a clever drop shot, but she piled on the errors in the next game, handing Zheng the first set.

The 12th seed started off stronger in the second set, holding her first service game to love and then snatching an early break after a string of errors from Yastremska, but the Ukrainian broke straight back.

Zheng broke again in the seventh game, helped by a double fault from Yastremska and a shanked shot that flew long. Yastremska bravely held in the next game, with Zheng fluffing an easy smash, but the Chinese player snared the match with an unreturnable serve.