American women’s tennis star Serena Williams defeated her sister Venus Williams in straight sets (6-4, 6-4) Saturday to win this year’s Australian Open in Melbourne.
With the victory, the 35-year-old Williams powered her way into the record books with 23 Grand Slam titles, surpassing German Steffi Graf as winner of the most Grand Slams since the beginning of the Open era in 1968, when professional and amateur players competed in the same events. Aussie tennis icon Margaret Court won 24 majors, but collected 13 of those before the Open era.
Top ranking ensured
The victory at Rod Laver Arena also ensured Serena Williams will regain the top ranking, which she lost in September after 186 consecutive weeks when German Angelique Kerber won the U.S. Open.
Speaking of her sister, “There’s no way I would be at 23 (grand slam victories) without her; there’s no way I would be at one without her; there’s no way I would have anything without her. She is my inspiration, she’s the only reason I’m standing here today, the only reason the Williams sisters exist,” Serena Williams said accepting the winner’s trophy.
The match got off to a rocky start for both players, each breaking the others’ service game twice before Serena held serve and closed out the opening set at 6-4. Serena grew more steady in the second set, her powerful serves and ground strokes keeping her older sister off balance.
“I’m enormously proud you,” Venus said after the match.
The win was Serena’s seventh in nine all-Williams Grand Slam finals, and the first since Wimbledon in 2009. This was 36-year-old, No. 13-seeded Venus Williams’ first trip back to a major final in seven years.
The men’s final Sunday reprises the rivalry between two former world No. 1 tennis players, Roger Federer of Switzerland and Spaniard Raphael Nadal.