Serena downs Venus
Sibling rivalry was evident as the Williams sisters met in the final of the Australian Open where the winner was destined to make history. That honour went to Serena Williams who, after 82-minutes, watched a Venus backhand error on match point, hand her the title 6-4 6-4.
SheÈs the only reason the Williams sisters exist, so thank you for inspiring me to be the best that I can be
It was SerenaÈs 7th title at Melbourne but more importantly, it was her 23rd grand slam win and eased her past Steffi GrafÈs modern day record of 22 while taking her to within one of Margaret CourtÈs all-time record of 24.
In addition she regained the status of world number one which she had lost to Angelique Kerber last September.
The match itself was a tense affair and it was obvious from the outset that both players were nervous but it was Serena who eventually was able to control her emotions more to not only overcome her sister, but also the crowd who were favouring Venus more.
Apart from a racket abuse warning to Serena for smashing hers on court and delivered three double faults to hand Venus a 3-2 lead, there were no major problems for the second seed who eventually overcame the pressure after some searing exchanges.
Despite those early blips, the match went very much according to their respective seedings with the world No2 collecting herself to pull ahead 5-3 thanks to a blistering backhand winner and having recovered her serving poise, she served out comfortably securing the first set on an ace.
The records showed that Serena very rarely lost a final after winning the opening set and so it proved. She immediately applied the pressure forcing Venus to stave off three break points in the third game but it only delayed the inevitable for at 3-all, wheen the elder Williams was again put on the defensive and having to save two break points only to drop her serve on the third when she couldnÈt control her reply to a powerful Serena forehand.
However, Venus didnÈt lie down despite the writing being on the wall, forcing her sister to serve out which she did and following that last backhand error from Venus, fell to the ground in celebration of her history making victory.
There followed an emotional embrace at the net plus the ritual plaudits of each other during the presentations.
Serena applauding her sisters run into the final at 36 Venus was the oldest finalist in Melbourne in the Open era by declaring, while clutching the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup: SheÈs an amazing person, thereÈs no way I would be at 23 without her. ThereÈs no way I would have anything without her.
SheÈs the only reason the Williams sisters exist, so thank you for inspiring me to be the best that I can be.
VenusÈs run through the draw had attracted a lot of admiration and there was no doubt at her delight at her sisterÈs success.
Serena Williams, thatÈs my little sister, guys, she said beaming. Congratulations Serena on number 23, I’ve been right there with you, some of them I lost against you. Your win has always been my win, I think you know that.
"All the times I couldn’t be there or wouldn’t be there, you were there. I’m enormously proud of you, you mean the world to me."
For the record, Serena, at 35 is now the oldest player to win a grand slam title in the Open era, having already achieved that distinction by winning Wimbledon aged 34 last year. She also pockets a cheque for $2.2 million pounds in what was her 17th win over Venus in the 28 matches they have contested in their careers, the first being 19 years ago in the second round of the Australian Open. And the way things are going at present they could well be facing each other again in the not too distant future.