Serena clinches record 23rd Grand Slam title with Australian Open triumph
American tennis legend Serena Williams scripted history when she defeated her elder sister Venus in the Australian Open final to become the first woman to capture 23 Grand Slam singles titles in the Open era here on Saturday.
Serena prevailed 6-4, 6-4 over Venus to clinch her seventh Australian Open singles crown at Melbourne Park. With the victory, Serena moved back to being the World No.1, deposing Angelique Kerber. She now has won 23 of 29 Grand Slam singles finals.
Coming into the final, Serena was tied with German icon Steffi Graf for most number (22) of Grand Slam singles titles in the Open era. Australian Margaret Court has the highest number of titles with 24 across the amateur and Open eras.
The Open era began in 1968 when the Grand Slam tournaments agreed to allow professional players to compete with amateurs. Before that only amateurs were allowed to compete in the Grand Slams.
With this win, 35-year-old Serena took a 17-11 lead in career head-to-head meetings against the 36-year-old Venus.
While Serena pocketed $3,700,000 for the win, her sister got richer by $1,850,000.
Serena now has seven Australian Open titles, making it her joint-most successful Grand Slam alongside Wimbledon. She has also won six US Open titles and four French Open trophies.
Venus, in her first Grand Slam decider since Wimbledon 2009, now has lost eight of her past nine meetings with Serena.
Venus and Serena exchanged breaks to start the match, with the No.2 seed Serena settling in sooner to take the opening set behind seven aces and 16 winners.
The crowd did its best to lift Venus in the second set in the hopes of seeing a decider, and the Americans continued performing at a high level throughout the 81 minute match.
"There's no way I'd be at 23 without her, no way I'd be at one without her," Serena said after the match in reference to her sister.
"Thank you, Venus, for inspiring me to be the best player I could be," she added.
Upon receiving her trophy from Czech great Hana Mandlikova, Serena indicated that she does not like to hear the words "come back" in reference to her sister, whom she said never left.
Meanwhile, Finnish players Henri Kontinen and Australian John Peers got their first Grand Slam title after winning the Australian Open men's doubles final on Saturday.
Kontinen and Peers defeated American brothers Mike and Bob Bryan 7-5, 7-5.