Aryna Sabalenka remains on track to defend her Australian Open crown after reaching the Melbourne final by avenging her defeat by Coco Gauff in last year’s US Open showpiece.

Belarusian second seed Sabalenka won 7-6 (7-2) 6-4 against American fourth seed Gauff in a tense semi-final.

Both were edgy in an error-strewn first set with six breaks before Sabalenka pounced decisively late in the second.

Sabalenka will face Zheng Qinwen or Dayana Yastremska in Saturday’s final.

Chinese 12th seed Zheng and Ukrainian qualifier Yastremska contest the second semi-final at Melbourne Park later on Thursday.

More to follow.

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