Pro-Palestine protesters disrupt Australian Open AGAIN with demonstration during the women’s singles final between Aryna Sabalenka and Zheng Qinwen

  • The protesters got to their feet and waved a Palestinian flag in the second set
  • A composed Zheng managed to hold her serve to get a game on the board
  • But Sabalenka continued to dominate heavily and won back-to-back titles 

Pro-Palestine protesters interrupted a second match at the Australian Open, this time disrupting the women’s singles final between Aryna Sabalenka and Zheng Qinwen. 

Zheng – who trails the defending champion by a set – was preparing to serve to get herself on the board in the second set when the Rod Laver Arena was disturbed by shouting from a number of protesters. 

The demonstraters waved Palestinian flags before they were quickly hauled out by members of security. 

Their cries were met with a patient frustration by both players on the court – and boos and jeers from spectators watching the final. 

After the delay Zheng was able to complete her hold of serve, but remains under extreme threat from the Belarusian world No 2, who is looking to break her opponent at 5-1 to win back-to-back titles. 

A demonstrater mounted a pro-Palestine protest during the Australian Open women’s final

The man and several others got to their feet in the second set and called their message around the stadium

The man and several others got to their feet in the second set and called their message around the stadium

Zheng Qinwen was forced to wait as she prepared to hold onto her serve for the first time in the second set

Zheng Qinwen was forced to wait as she prepared to hold onto her serve for the first time in the second set

Saturday’s protest marks the second time that matches have been paused in Melbourne due to protests against the conflict between Israel and Hamas. 

Britain’s Cameron Norrie saw his clash with Alexander Zverev interrupted by a lone protester who flung leaflets onto the court behind the German preparing to return Norrie’s serve. 

In that instance, security was slow to intervene, and the demonstrater was taken out by two spectators keen for the players to resume. 

The leaflets appeared to highlight ‘war crimes and genocide’ and carried the slogan ‘Free Palestine’ in a bid to raise awareness to the roiling conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.

Defending champion Aryna Sabalenka was forced to watch and wait for play to resume

Defending champion Aryna Sabalenka was forced to watch and wait for play to resume

The protesters were removed by security to the sound of boos from around the stadium

The protesters were removed by security to the sound of boos from around the stadium

A protester hurled flyers in support of a 'Free Palestine' during Cameron Norrie's match on Monday in Melbourne

A protester hurled flyers in support of a ‘Free Palestine’ during Cameron Norrie’s match on Monday in Melbourne

Norrie - preparing to serve for the game - looked baffled by the disruption on the show court

Norrie – preparing to serve for the game – looked baffled by the disruption on the show court 

‘While you’re watching tennis, bombs are dropping on Gaza,’ the pamphlet read.

Australia is a close ally of Israel. Australia is complicit in war crimes and genocide’.

In July, Just Stop Oil protesters disrupted matches at Wimbledon, with Norrie’s compatriot Katie Boulter also falling victim to an unexpected delay. 

Group member Willian John Ward ran onto Court 18 during Boulter’s clash with Daria Saville and flung orange confetti onto the hallowed grass. 

The protester had swerved numerous security checks put on in a bid to derail protest attempts by bringing in the confetti in a Wimbledon jigsaw puzzle box. 

Grigor Dimitrov’s match against Sho Shumabukuro’s match had also been disrupted earlier in the day in a similar protest, but due to the use of ticker tape rather than the group’s trademark orange dust, play was able to resume in both matches promptly. 

Speaking after the protest, Mr Ward said: ‘I don’t like making a racket, but I don’t want my grandchildren, nieces and nephews to suffer. Right now, millions of people are being forced outside of the conditions necessary to support human life.’

Last year's Wimbledon was also interrupted by protesters from Just Stop Oil, who flung orange confetti on Court 18

Last year’s Wimbledon was also interrupted by protesters from Just Stop Oil, who flung orange confetti on Court 18 

Britain's Katie Boulter was seen helping the ball boys and girls pick up orange confetti that had been thrown onto the floor

Britain’s Katie Boulter was seen helping the ball boys and girls pick up orange confetti that had been thrown onto the floor

After being escorted off the court, Ward was later arrested on suspicion of aggravated trespass and criminal damage. 

The grounds looked to combat future – or inspired – protests in a similar fashion by banning the sale of souvenir jigsaws at the official Wimbledon shop.  

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