Serena Williams claims 19th grand slam

Serena Williams battled past Maria Sharapova in a hard-fought 6-3 7-6 victory in the Australian Open women’s final at Melbourne Park.

Sharapova hadn’t beaten Serena Williams for a decade, and from the moment that the Russian’s serve was broken in the opening game of the match it didn’t look like changing on Saturday,

Serena was simply in charge throughout, and while Sharapova worked hard in the second set – saving one championship point while serving at 5-4 down – her titanic efforts simply saw her keep pace, and consistently made her seem as if she simply didn’t have the firepower to deal with the American superstar.

Williams quickly roared 4-1 ahead in the tie-break and began pumping her fist early as she closed on her sixth Australian Open crown, some 12 years after the first.

But Sharapova once again dug in, getting it back to 5-4 – only for Williams to hit a clean return winner off the Sharapova second serve to earn two more championship points.

Sharapova saved the first of them with a thundering serve that almost floored the American, but Serena smashed a perfect ace to finish off the match,

Williams’s 19th grand slam singles title sees her pull ahead of Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert in the all-time Open era list – and she is now just three titles away from Steffi Graf’s record of 22.