Melbourne, Jan 28: American superstar Serena Williams today rewrote history by becoming the first woman tennis player to win a record 23 Grand Slam titles beating elder sister Venus Williams by 6-4, 6-4 in the final of the Australian Open, here.
With today’s triumph, the 35-year-old younger Williams will also get back to numero uno position when the WTA publishes its latest rankings on Monday.
Inarguably, one of the greatest exponents that the game of tennis has ever seen, Serena’s seventh Australian Open title was a bit of an anti-climax as the quality of tennis was bereft of the top billing of a marquee clash.
In what turned out to be a baseline slugfest between the two sisters, Serena walked away with the coveted title by winning the big points and making less mistakes.
In the end, Venus’ backhand lob went wide and Serena seemed more relieved than elated as her elder sister crossed the sides to give her a tight hug.
For 36-year-old Venus, a sentimental favourite after making it to the finals beating some of the opponents half her age, the summit clash was a big letdown with the number of unforced errors that marred her game.
Especially her cross-court shots — both backhand and forehand couldn’t come through, making it easier for Serena to come back hard at her. Either she hit the net or the shots went wide.
Venus showed glimpses of her old self in the third game of the second set, when she was down 0-40 on her serve. But the six-time Grand Slam singles champion reeled off five straight points to make it 2-1.
The most important game turned out to be the seventh game of the second set when Serena broke Venus’ serve. The standout shot was a thundering backhand down the line and the break happened when the champion hit a double handed backhand cross the court to make it 4-3 and then closed the match in the 10th game.
“I just kept praying and praying and I am here. I love you (Venus), thank you. I take this moment to congratulate Venus, she is an amazing person. There is no way I would be at 23 without her. She is my inspiration, the only reason why I am standing here. Thank you for inspiring me to be the best player. She has been such a great champion,” Serena said after the match. (PTI)