MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Serena Williams has won her record 23rd Grand Slam singles title with a 6-4, 6-4 victory over her older sister Venus in Saturday’s Australian Open final.
With her record seventh Australian title, the 35-year-old Williams moved ahead of Steffi Graf for the most major titles in the Open era. Margaret Court won 24 majors, but collected 13 of those before the Open era.
The victory at Rod Laver Arena also ensured Serena Williams will regain the top ranking, which she lost in September after 186 straight weeks when Angelique Kerber won the U.S. Open.
After playing each other for the Australian Open title, Serena and Venus Williams were all sisterly love during the trophy presentation.
Serena thanked her sister for pushing her throughout her career and helping her win her 23rd singles major title, a record for the Open era.
With a tearful Venus looking on, Serena said, “There’s no way I would be at 23 without her. There’s no way I would be at one without her. There’s no way I would have anything without her. She’s my inspiration. She’s the only reason I’m standing here today.”
Venus, who was playing her first Grand Slam final since 2009, said she was “enormously proud” of her sister for winning her seventh Australian Open title and breaking the tie she had with Steffi Graf for most major titles in the modern era.
“Congratulations, Serena, on No. 23. I have been right there with you. Some of them I have lost right there against you,” Venus said. “Your win has always been my win, you know that. All the times I couldn’t be there, wouldn’t be there, didn’t get there, you were there.”
It was Serena’s seventh win in nine all-Williams Grand Slam finals, and the first since Wimbledon in 2009. It was 36-year-old, No. 13-seeded Venus Williams’ first trip back to a major final in 7 1/2 years.
In other Saturday action, Henri Kontinen of Finland and John Peers of Australia beat Bob and Mike Bryan 7-5, 7-5 to win the men’s doubles championship, their first Grand Slam title. The third-seeded Bryans were trying to win their 17th Grand Slam title, which would have tied them with John Newcombe for the most titles all-time.
Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer renew their Grand Slam final rivalry when they meet for the Australian Open men’s singles title.
They will meet for a major championship for the ninth time with Nadal winning six of the previous eight. He also holds the edge in their head-to-head matches 23-11. The 35-year old Federer for his 18th Grand Slam title, while 30-year old Nadal is aiming for his 15th.
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