Aryna Sabalenka, the world number two, defeated Gauff 7-6 (2), 6-4 in the inaugural women’s singles semifinal at the 2024 Australian Open.

Aryna Sabalenka, the defending champion, exacted revenge on Coco Gauff for her defeat in the US Open final last year, advancing to the Australian Open summit showdown for the second straight season. The Belarusian defeated the fourth seed 7-6 (7/2), 6-4 in one hour and 42 minutes at Rod Laver Arena, keeping her championship defence on track.

Aryna Sabalenka defeats Coco Gauff

The two reigning Grand Slam champions faced up for the first time since their clash in New York, and the first set was a rollercoaster of emotions. Sabalenka began on a dominant note, breaking Gauff twice to establish a 5-2 advantage. However, the 19-year-old made some little modifications to plan a systematic comeback, including landing more first serves and pulling Sabalenka into rallies. The Belarusian then erred in serving out to end the match, striking her first double fault and giving the American a break point, which she converted to get back on serve.

Sabalenka attempted to get things back on track after obtaining another break point, but Gauff thwarted her with a strong body serve to hold to 5-5, before breaking back the 13-time tour-level titlist and moving to within two points of winning the opening set. But Sabalenka surged back again to force a tiebreak and then dominated the set decider as Gauff battled with her first serve, grabbing a one-set lead after 57 minutes.

With the victory, the 25-year-old became the first player to reach consecutive finals at Melbourne Park since the great Serena Williams in 2016 and 2017. She will now attempt to become the first player to win consecutive Australian Open titles since Victoria Azarenka in 2012 and 2013. On Saturday, Sabalenka will compete for the championship against either Zheng Qinwen of China or Ukrainian qualifier Dayana Yastremska.