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Aryna Sabalenka sweeps Coco Gauff to reach Australian Open final

Aryna Sabalenka sought “revenge” against Coco Gauff and got it in the Australian Open semifinals.

Sabalenka prevailed 7-6 (2), 6-4 to reach Saturday’s final, where she will bid for a repeat title.

Sabalenka, who hasn’t dropped a set in six rounds, said before the match that she wanted “revenge” after squandering a one-set lead over Gauff in the U.S. Open final in September.

Gauff said she played better Thursday than she did in the U.S. Open final.


“Overall a positive tournament,” she said. “I did my best with the game plan that I had. I think it just came down to a couple of points, and that’s tennis.”

Next, Sabalenka plays 12th seed Zheng Qinwen of China, who swept 93rd-ranked Ukrainian qualifier Dayana Yastremska in the later semifinal.

Sabalenka snapped Gauff’s 12-match win streak in Grand Slams and a 10-match win streak overall to start 2024.

Gauff had chances in the first set. She overcame five double faults in her first three service games to secure a break while Sabalenka served for the set.

Sabalenka started to think about what happened in the U.S. Open final.

“I was a little bit, of course, I can’t ignore that,” she told ESPN. “But I was just keep telling myself, just pretend it’s a practice.”

It worked. Gauff was later broken serving for the set as Sabalenka reeled off 11 of the last 13 points.

Sabalenka then broke Gauff at 4-all in the second and served it out.

Had Gauff won Thursday, she would have become the first American to reach No. 2 in the world rankings since Serena Williams was last there in 2017.

The Australian Open marked Gauff’s last Grand Slam as a teenager. She has made the second week of a Slam in six consecutive years dating to her breakout run at 2019 Wimbledon at age 15.

“I tend to be hard on myself, so I feel like today I was, like, dang, but I think looking back of overall this stage of my life, it was obviously a successful time,” she said. “I saw a stat that I think I’m up there with Serena (Williams) and (Jennifer) Capriati with the wins at Slams (as teens). I saw that and it made me feel -- I don’t know, I just feel like I look at the glass half empty, so I’m negative. Then I looked at that stat, and I’m like they had great careers. So I’m in the right direction. I just have to remind myself of the journey and not so much of the moment.”