Serena Williams has beaten older sister Venus Williams 6-4 6-4 to win her seventh Australian Open and 23rd grand slam title overall.
In doing so, she goes past German Steffi Graf for most majors in the Open Era and now trails Australian Margaret Court by one on the all-time list.
With the American sisters having a combined age of 71, it was the oldest women’s grand slam final in the Open Era. Venus was bidding for her eighth grand slam title and first in nine years.
As an added bonus, Serena finished the tournament without dropping a set and regains the no.1 ranking which she lost to Angelique Kerber after last year’s US Open.
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 28, 2017
Both players struggled to settle into the match in the early stages with breaks of serve in the first four games, the fourth of which saw three double faults from Serena.
In the game prior, Serena incurred a code violation for snapping her racquet in half after slipping while trying to react to a deflected ball off the net. It was a sign of the visible tension she was feeling. She looked extremely irritable in the early going and there was a flood of errors.
Serena cleaned up her act and crunched a blistering backhand winner down the line to break in game seven, before later serving out the set.
Venus held a crucial third game of set two when 0-40 down. But again, it was the seventh game when Serena got the vital break, this time with a huge backhand crosscourt.
Serena definitely played a cleaner second set, finishing the match with 10 aces and 27 winners. The 35 year old served it out and, when Venus sent a backhand wide, secured a historic win in one hour 21 minutes.
The celebration was a rather subdued one.
When they met at the net, Venus gave Serena a long and emotional embrace, a sign of how close their sisterly bond is. And at the trophy presentation, Serena showed off some custom-made Nike ‘Air Jordan’ shoes with the no.23 emblazoned on them.
“I have been right there with you, some of them I lost right there against you. It’s been an awesome win. I’m enormously proud of you; you mean the world to me. I, God willing, would love to come back. Thank you for all the love”, said Venus.
Serena returned the love. “There’s no way I would be at 23 without her. There’s no way I’d be at one without her. She’s my inspiration.”
“She’s the only reason I’m standing here today. She’s the only reason the Williams sisters exist. Thank you for inspiring me. Every time you won this week, I felt like I got a win too.”
With the sisters also combining for 14 grand slam doubles titles, they truly have been one of the greatest sibling acts in world sport. And the final chapter still hasn’t been written.