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The year's first major tennis championship is complete. The 15-day 2024 Australian Open began on Sunday, January 14 and wrapped up on Sunday, January 28.
Aryna Sabalenka and Jannik Sinner emerged victorious in the women's and men's singles draw at the 2024 Australian Open.
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Sabalenka Defends Her Title
In the women's singles competition, Aryna Sabalenka defended her title as the Australian Open champion after taking down Qinwen Zheng of China 6-3, 6-2 on Saturday, January 27th. She was dominant throughout the entire tournament, winning a perfect 14 of 14 sets.
Sabalenka won eight of the first nine points and held onto that dominance and control for the rest of the match. Sabalenka now has won 14 consecutive matches in Melbourne, and with this victory, she’ll keep her world No. 2 ranking, just behind Iga Swiatek, who congratulated her on her amazing victory.
Sabalenka has proved to be one of the top hard-court players, with 12 of her 14 title wins coming on hard courts, per ESPN.
This Belarusian star's dominance was impressive, but not totally surprising to anyone.
"I love you so much," Sabalenka told the crowd gathered at Rod Laver Arena, all people who are quite used to seeing her win.
Sabalenka's game truly came together in 2023, following notable evolution in various parts of her game, particularly after experiencing inconsistencies in her serve in 2022. Last year, she rediscovered consistency in her powerful serve and spent months ranked No. 1 as a result. She won the Australian Open, reached the final of the US Open and reached the semis of the other two major championships.
Even if the US Open was her only appearance in a final over the last eight months of the year, Sabalenka’s consistency in increasingly competitive women’s tournament fields was truly astonishing. “She's always there,” says ESPN.
With her final result in the 2024 Australian Open, 25-year-old Sabalenka became the first woman since Victoria Azarenka in 2013 to defend the title in Australia.
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A Comeback That Led to Victory
In the men’s singles competition, Jannik Sinner came back from being two sets down to beat Daniil Medvedev of Russia 3-6, 3-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-3 in the final. This victory marked his first-ever Grand Slam title.
The 22-year-old became the first Italian man to win the Australian Open since 1976, and is also the youngest player to win at Melbourne Park since Novak Djokovic of Serbia in 2008.
Ironically, Sinner advanced to the final after taking down Djokovic in the semifinal round. Djokovic has won a record-breaking 10 Australian Open trophies and was a favorite to win again this year. Despite this, Sinner snapped his 33-match winning streak in Melbourne.
This was the first Australian Open final since 2005 without Djokovic, Rafael Nadal of Spain, or Roger Federer of Switzerland. Nadal initially planned to compete in this tournament, but had to pull out due to a "micro tear" on his hip muscle, which he sustained during his quarterfinal match in Brisbane International.
While Sinner, 22, had been impressive throughout his run to the final, especially his staggering defeat over Novak Djokovic in the semifinals, it was clear that he needed to dig deep to secure his first major title. But, he did just that as he stormed back to defeat Daniil Medvedev, not only proving himself a true force to be reckoned with, but also securing a major personal title for himself.
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Planning For the Future
With four months until the French Open, and even longer until Wimbledon and the US Open begin, it is, of course, tough to make predictions. But, it’s clear these two winners are names to keep in mind as we progress through the rest of the 2024 championships.
Here are some important dates to keep in mind for the rest of 2024:
The French Open
When: May 26-June 9
2023 champions: Novak Djokovic and Iga Swiatek
Top men's contenders in 2024: Novak Djokovic, Carlos Alcaraz, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Holger Rune (and, if he plays, Rafael Nadal)
Top women's contenders in 2024: Iga Swiatek, Aryna Sabalenka, Coco Gauff, and Elina Svitolina
When: July 1-14
2023 champions: Carlos Alcaraz and Marketa Vondrousova
Top men's contenders in 2024: Carlos Alcaraz, Novak Djokovic, Jannik Sinner, Andrey Rublev
Top women's contenders in 2024: Aryna Sabalenka, Coco Gauff, Elena Rybakina, Ons Jabeur
When: Aug. 26-Sept. 8
Where: New York
2023 champions: Novak Djokovic and Coco Gauff
Top men's contenders in 2024: Novak Djokovic, Carlos Alcaraz, Daniil Medvedev, Jannik Sinner, and Ben Shelton
Top women's contenders in 2024: Coco Gauff, Aryna Sabalenka, Iga Swiatek, Naomi Osaka, and Mirra Andreeva
Edited by: Hadlea Lindstrom
Social media content created by: Katherine Shin