Sabalenka swept aside Qinwen Zheng of China in the Australian Open women's final on Saturday to defend her crown. She is the first woman to retain the Melbourne Slam since compatriot Victoria Azarenka exactly 11 years ago.
The 25-year-old 's run to the title is one of the most dominant this century, becoming just the fifth WTA player since 2000 to win the Australian Open without the loss of a set. Another salient feature of Sabalenka's reign was the manner in which she defeated her opponents.
In six of her seven matches, she did not lose more than three games per set. That included Saturday's 6-3, 6-2 demolition of soon-to-be Top 10 player Qinwen Zheng, appearing in her first Grand Slam final.
Retired ATP star Pat Cash commentated on the match on BBC Rado 5 Live, where he was startled by Sabalenka's unconstrained power. He believes the Belarusian star embodies similar traits to those of Serena Williams, including her strength, agility, and mentality.
"Sabalenka was faultless, absolutely fautless. She really is the modern day Serena Williams, strong, fast and super determined."
Cash stated that Sabalenka was "unstoppable" in the end and that Zheng was completely left awestruck by the destructive power she had to deal with in the match. The Australian player-turned-commentator sympathized with Zheng's draw, which made her a bit underprepared for such a caliber of an opponent.
"She is unstoppable when she goes like that, a bit like Serena. That is as present as it gets. Sabalenka came out aggressive. She knew she had the pace to upset Zheng, for a first time in a Grand Slam final. Zheng hadn’t seen anything like this considering she hadn’t played a top 50 player all the way through. Sabalenka was absolutely flawless."