Superb Serena Williams sets slam record
Serena Williams won her seventh Australian Open after securing victory over sister, Venus, in straight sets 6-4; 64. Their 28th career meeting was more about history than the final result.
In 2000, the great Billie Jean King described the advent of the Williams’ sisters as the best thing that ever happened to the game.” Her words have been verified for 17 years, in tournaments played on every continent of planet earth.
With the victory, Serena cemented herself as the most decorated player, male or female, in the Open era. By comparison, Steffi Graf won her final Grand Slam at age 29.
Venus became the first to win the Australian Open without dropping a set, since Maria Sharapova in 2008. In the records chronicle, she also became the oldest player, at 35, to win a Grand Slam title. And with the early exit of Angelique Kerber, Serena will retake her spot at the top of the WTA rankings.
The first set was a parade of service breaks. Venus served first and lost two points. She delivered an ace to reduce the deficit. At 15-40, she had Serena way back on the baseline but hit ball straight back and Serena hit a cross-court winner for the break. Although Serena won the first two points, she was tied at 30-all and hit an ace to reach game point, was deuced. A net cord gave Venus the break point and Serena lost on a forehand error. Venus fell behind on her serve but secured a deuce when a net cord prevented the ball from reaching the baseline and the waiting hands of Serena who slipped, wailed and banged her racket on the court. The Chair Umpires Allison Keys called a code violation.
However, Venus lost the game. In the fourth game, Serena delivered an ace and had game point but two double faults gave Venus the break for two games apiece. Venus was the first to hold serve and lead 3-2 but Serena leveled although she came from behind. The second ace of the match by Venus was followed by a double fault and she lost the crucial 7th game. Serena struggled from 0-30 and helped by an ace, she held to extend the lead 5-3. Needing to hold to stay in the set, Venus succeeded with superb serving. Serena did not concede a point in the tenth game that she won with an ace; for the first set 6-4.
As Serena got set to serve for the match, there was prolonged applause and the Chair Umpire appealed to the crowd to be quiet. Serena delivered a 193km/h ace, then another cannonball that elicited a return error. At 30-all, she hesitated and missed her first delivery but reached game point with the second serve. A netted forehand by Venus ended the set 6-4 and Serena became Australian Open champion for the seventh time.
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