Serena Williams dispatched sister Venus to grab a historic 23rd Grand Slam title, winning in straight sets (6-4, 6-4) to also reclaim her world number one spot.
14 years removed from winning her first title in Melbourne, the American broke Steffi Graf's record for most titles in the Open Era, while moving within one of Margaret Court's all-time achievement.
With 1 year, 3 months and 10 days of age between them, the competitive sibling rivalry was sizzling, the younger of the two giving it her all, outpouring emotion whenever she struck the net or landed out of lines.
|Image: Yahoo! Sports|
In the second set, it was Venus who saw her unforced error tally shoot up. While the then-6-time Australian Open champion improved on her serve - all the way to the championship. The 10th game of the 2nd set saw both sisters firing on all cylinders with a breathtaking 24-shot rally, and while Venus did come on top of that, her wide backhand was the end of it all: Serena Williams got her hands back on the Australian Open title.
2️⃣3️⃣ GRAND SLAM TITLES— TheSportMatrix (@TheSportMatrix) January 28, 2017
Serena Williams defeats her sister Venus in straight sets to pass Steffi Graf's record! 🐐 #AusOpen pic.twitter.com/YM9tia7H3g
|Image: Večernji list|
The humble champion was all praise in response, explaining that her sister "deserves an incredible round of applause". Continuing, "She's had an amazing comeback and I definitely think she'll be standing here next year. I don't like the world comeback - she never left".
We saw history. And we saw defiance. Serena Williams furthered her case in the "greatest of all time" debate and may just continue that argument for the rest of the year. Venus, meanwhile, had made a dream run back to the final - something that seemed completely unimaginable before - and after all, it was yet another massive win for the Williams family as a whole.
When you have the invincibles in sport - the unbeaten legends, icons and historic figures - it's easy to take them for granted. It's not a case of one and done, there's almost a certainty and confidence that they'll be back at the top again. At 35 years of age, Serena Williams was said to be in the twilight phase of her career. There she is though, still doing Serena things: dominating, and making history.
The record books and herself will forever be intertwined. Women's tennis is under a very transitional period at the moment, with a flooding off new contenders making for a compelling dynamic. Yet remaining a constant there, and wiping away everyone, is Williams. How long that'll last is hard to determine considering the odds defied so far, but one thing's for sure: she deserves far more appreciation than she's getting. Maybe she will on the day she bows out from the sport.
|Image: World News|
Whether or not it will be against Venus or not is another question entirely, but she'll be in the mix. Withering at one stage, showing signs of frustration with the scenes of her yelling or throwing her racket after an error becoming familiar - it clearly wasn't a mere end. There's more history to chase.
|Image: Mark R. Cristino / European Pressphoto Agency|