12th seed Qinwen Zheng ended the run of Dayana Yastremska 6-4, 6-4, to reach the Australian Open women’s singles final.

Zheng was too powerful for a listless Yastremska in the semi-final in a match lasting one hour, 42 minutes.

The Ukrainian qualifier appeared to be carrying an injury for much of the match, after qualifying for the main singles draw, one step away  from emulating Emma Raducanu and only the fifth player to reach the latter stages from the qualies.

On the 10th anniversary of compatriot Li Na’s second Grand Slam victory at the 2014 Australian Open, Zheng Qinwen followed in her footsteps to become only the second Chinese player in history to reach a Grand Slam final. 

Qinwen Zheng meets her heroine Li Na in Melbourne – by WTATennis.com

“’Queen Wen” will take on the No. 2 seed and defending champion Aryna Sabalenka for the second time.

Their only previous meeting took place at the 2023 US Open quarter finals, Sabalenka winning 6-1, 6-4.

That  was also Zheng’s debut at that stage of a major.

Zheng also becomes the fourth player born since  2002 or later to reach a Grand Slam final, after  2021 US Open champion Emma Raducanu, 2021 US Open finalist Leylah Fernandez and Coco Gauff, the 2023 US Open champion and 2022 Roland Garros runner-up.

Currently ranked No.15, the Chinese No.1 will move into the WTA top 10 next Monday.