For the seventh time in her career, Serena Williams has won the Australian Open, and for the second time in her career, she’s done so by beating her sister, Venus Williams, in the final.
The two played each other on Saturday in Melbourne, and while Venus fought hard with multiple breaks of her own, Serena earned the straight-set victory, 6-4, 6-4.
Serena started the match with a fury, immediately earning a double break point on Venus and clinching that opportunity right out of the gate to take a 1-0 lead in the first set. But Venus fought right back and earned a break over Serena. What followed were two more breaks, one for Venus and one for Serena, and then Venus became the first one to hold in the match, going up 3-2.
After a Serena hold, Venus struggled once again with Serena’s power and gave up another break, allowing Serena to take a 4-3 lead with the chance to put herself within a game of winning the set. Serena did go on to win the first set, but it was close. Venus won just 11 percent of her second serves in the first set, her downfall for certain.
Serena threatened a break on Venus’ first serve in the second set with a double break point opportunity. Venus, fortunately, fought off those breaks and held serve to stay up 2-1. They stayed on serve for a couple of games until Serena managed a break of Venus to go up 4-3 in the second. Serena then held, and Venus was serving to stay alive.
Venus did hold serve, but that set up Serena to serve for the match. Serena went up 40-30 in that game, which also included the longest rally of the match. She faulted on her first serve and then buried a shot home after Venus tried a gentle lob at the net. Serena got the set and the win.
This was the 28th meeting between the two. Serena entered the match with a 16-11 record in the head-to-head rivalry. Venus is the only woman to have that kind of success against Serena through the years, but Serena definitely had the edge over her sister overall.
Serena now holds a 10-5 record over Venus in Grand Slam matches and a 7-2 record over Venus in Grand Slam finals. Unfortunately for Venus, a title at the Australian Open still eludes her. She last played in the final there in 2003 ... against Serena. Serena won that matchup and now this one, denying Venus her eighth Grand Slam singles title.
For Serena, it’s her fifth title at the Australian Open and her 23rd Grand Slam singles title overall, giving her the most of any woman in the Open Era. Previously she was tied with Steffi Graf, at 22, and now trails Margaret Court overall. Court had 24 titles, but her titles bridged the amateur and Open Eras of tennis.