Melbourne, Australia (SportsNetwork.com) – Serena Williams is again the
Australian Open champion.
The top-seeded American earned her sixth Aussie Open title and 19th career
Grand Slam championship with a 6-3, 7-6 (7-5) triumph over Maria Sharapova on
Saturday at Rod Laver Arena.
Williams won in Melbourne for the first time since 2010, finishing the match
with an ace in the second-set tiebreaker on her third championship point. She
now owns the second-most women’s Grand Slam titles in the Open Era, surpassing
legends Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova. Only Steffi Graf has more with
Sharapova was trying for a second Australian Open title. She fell to 2-17
lifetime against Williams and has lost the last 16 meetings.
The 33-year-old Williams notched her 65th career title and has captured the
last two Grand Slam events, taking the U.S. Open crown last September.
Williams had a break point opportunity in the opening game of the match when
Sharapova fired a backhand wide. A double fault quickly gave Williams the
The players were locked at 30-30 in the sixth game when rain forced the
closing of the roof.
Williams hardly seemed affected by the delay, following an ace with a strong
forehand winner to complete the hold for a 4-2 lead.
A double fault gave Williams three break points in the next game, but she only
needed one as Sharapova fired a backhand long. Sharapova broke back, but
Williams responded to the poor service game with a break at love to take the
Williams continued her strong play into the second set with a hold at love,
then had two more break points in the next game. Sharapova, though, regrouped
and managed to save both before holding.
Each player had a break chance midway through the second set, but Williams
failed to convert her opportunity with a wide backhand in the sixth game and
Sharapova sent a forehand wide in the seventh game.
Another Sharapova forehand error gave Williams her first championship point in
the 10th game, but the Russian came up with a big serve that Williams barely
returned. Sharapova followed with a blistering forehand that drew applause
from the American.
After Williams held with an ace, Sharapova held at love to force the tiebreak.
Sharapova won the first point of the tiebreak with a forehand return winner,
but Williams won the next four to take control. At 6-4, Sharapova came up with
a forehand that Williams could not return to save a second championship point.
Williams then blasted what appeared to be an ace to win the title, but it was
ruled a let. She dropped her racket in disbelief, then followed with the same
serve. This one did not tip the tape and she dropped her racket again, but in
Sharapova fell to 5-5 all-time in Grand Slam finals, including 1-3 against
Williams. The only victory came in the 2004 Wimbledon title match. Williams
also beat Sharapova for the 2007 Australian Open crown and for the 2013 French
The 27-year-old Sharapova’s lone Australian Open championship came in 2008
against Ana Ivanovic. She also lost the 2012 final against Victoria Azarenka.