Serena Williams beats Maria Sharapova to win Australian Open
Serena Williams beat Maria Sharapova to win her sixth Australian Open and 19th Grand Slam title.
The American world number one served superbly to win a pulsating final 6-3 7-6 (7-5) after Sharapova fought back in the second set.
Williams, 33, moves past Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert with a 19th major singles title.
She has now beaten Russia’s Sharapova, the world number two, 16 times in a row dating back to 2004.
“I have to congratulate Maria, she played a wonderful match and she really pushed me,” said Williams.
“She played so well and gave me a great final not only for the fans, but for women’s tennis. I’m really honoured to play her in the final.”
Despite feeling so unwell during a rain delay in the first set that she left the court to vomit, Williams hit 18 aces and 38 winners as she won in one hour and 51 minutes.
Seemingly unsure for a moment that an ace had sealed victory, she then shook hands with Sharapova and bounded over to the corner of Rod Laver Arena towards her player box.
It was a brilliant performance in a final that exceeded many expectations, bearing in mind the players’ head-to-head record.
Breaks of serve were swapped before Williams took the set in 47 minutes with a backhand and a scream.
Sharapova was looking at another one-sided defeat when facing break points early in the second, but showed why she is a five-time Grand Slam champion.
She served her way out of trouble and managed to cling on in a set in which Williams hit 15 aces and won almost 90% of first-serve points.
A gripping contest developed, with Serena escaping at 3-2, 0-30 thanks to three aces and a service winner.
Another game of three aces led to the American being called for hindrance after shouting “Come on” before the point had finished, and she mockingly mouthed “calm down” to herself after another winner soon after.
Sharapova made a nervous start, double-faulting to drop serve in game one, while Williams appeared keener than ever to shorten the points, possibly because of her ailment.
The American crushed the Russian’s second serve and was not disrupted by a 12-minute rain break that led to the roof being closed.
Still feeling the effects of a heavy cold that has dogged her over the last week, Williams headed off court – in contrast to Sharapova – but the top seed returned at the potentially dangerous score of 3-2, 30-30, to calmly produce an ace and a forehand winner.
Serena’s Grand Slam victories
|Australian Open||6||2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2015|
|French Open||2||2002, 2013|
|Wimbledon||5||2002, 2003, 2009, 2010, 2012|
|US Open||6||1999, 2002, 2008, 2012, 2013, 2014|
embodies style, power, beauty and courage. Like numerous A-list celebrities, Serena is recognized by the mere mention of her first name. Serena has overcome insurmountable odds to win 17 career Grand Slams. Her remarkable tennis skills have sky-rocketed her to fame, but only her unique charm and drive could explain her successful endeavours outside of tennis in film, television, fashion and philanthropy.
Her tennis ability combined with her off-court activity makes her one of the most recognisable names and faces in the world–an icon. Serena was born September 26, 1981 in Saginaw, Michigan, to Richard and Oracene Williams. While still an infant, the family moved to Compton, California where she began playing tennis at the age of four. At nine, Serena and her family moved to West Palm Beach, Florida.
Since that time, she has become one of the most dominant figures in tennis. In one of the most dominating performances of all time, Serena won a Singles and Doubles Gold medal during the 2012 London Olympics. Serena’s most recent Grand Slam victory was at the 2013 US OPEN where she defended her 2012 US OPEN win.
She has won a title in all four Grand Slam tournaments. She has won 56 singles championships, 22 doubles championships, and also was also Gold-Medalist at the 2000,2008 and 2012 Olympics. Serena continues to also pursue her other interests and has set herself up for a career after tennis.