Serena Williams of the United States poses with the trophy after the awarding ceremony of the women's singles final match against her sister Venus Williams at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Jan. 28, 2017. Serena Williams won 2-0. [Photo: Xinhua]
American tennis superstar Serena Williams has risen to new heights in the tennis world, winning a record 23rd Grand Slam title on Saturday over her sister, Venus, in the final of the Australian Open.
Serena's seventh title at Melbourne Park was won with an aggressive charge to the net and a desperate defensive backhand from Venus that floated into the tramlines.
Williams slumped to the ground, with hands in the air and eyes wide with joyous disbelief, before congratulating her sister for inspiring her run in Melbourne.
"There is no way I would be at 23 without her, there is no way I would be at one without her, there is no way I would have anything without her. She is my inspiration, she is the only reason I am standing here today and the only reason the Williams sisters exist so thank you Venus for inspiring me."
The match started out tense, with neither player able to hold serve until Venus took the fifth game.
Serena was the worst afflicted and she smashed her racket in a rage in the third game, after she slipped behind the baseline when chasing down a ball.
Venus stayed in the match with 21 winners, and won the longest rally of the match, but she couldn't seem to keep up with her sister.
Serena closed with an emotionally-charged 6-4 6-4 victory.
Venus was the oldest finalist in Melbourne in the professional era and won huge admiration for her unlikely run.
It was her first trip back to a Major final in nearly eight years and she says it was particularly special.
"I think so because Serena's been in a lot of finals, but I haven't been able to, you know, be there as much as she has. To have this opportunity to play against each other again, and to be able to rise to that occasion, was quite momentous."
In the ultimate throwback, Serena met her sister on the same court 14 years ago, where she edged her in three sets to claim her first Melbourne Park title.
Serena says achieving the feat in Melbourne feels like she has come full-circle.
"My first Grand Slam started here, and getting to 23 here, but playing Venus, it's stuff that legends are made of. I couldn't have written a better story. I just feel like it was the right moment. Everything kind of happened. It hasn't quite set in yet."
Their combined ages in Melbourne also adds up to the 'oldest' major final ever contested.
The win moves Serena past Steffi Graf for the most Major titles in the Open era and she now sits just one shy of Margaret Court's long-standing record of 24.
The victory also means she has wrested back the world number one ranking from Angelique Kerber.1 2 3 4