The 25-year-old Zheng came to the final with a clear game plan; vary the pace and spin to keep Sabalenka out of rhythm. She executed it to perfection, and was able to force enough errors to withstand the heavy barrage of Sabalenka groundstrokes.
When under pressure, Zheng would turn to the classic topspin lob, giving the Belarusian no pace to work with whatsoever. This particular shot frustrated Sabalenka, whose patience was too thin to handle the Zheng’s quirky, defense oriented strategy.
“You were freaking me out today,” Sabalenka said to Zheng during her runner-up speech.
With her win today Zheng will move up to No. 38 in the world, her new career high.