Serena Williams has beaten Russia’s Maria Sharapova for her sixth Australian Open, clinching her 19th Grand Slam title.
Williams, 33, won the final 6-3, 7-6 (5).
It was the tennis superstar’s first Australian Open in five years and she managed to win despite fighting a severe cold that The New York Times says “left her occasionally coughing between returns and serves in the final.”
“It was a brilliant performance in a final that exceeded many expectations, bearing in mind the players’ head-to-head record.
“Sharapova made a nervous start, double-faulting to drop serve in game one, while Williams appeared keener than ever to shorten the points, possibly because of her ailment.
“The American crushed the Russian’s second serve and was not disrupted by a 12-minute rain break that led to the roof being closed.”
In an emotional victory speech, Williams said she had overcome a lot in her 33 years. She’s now tied for third on a list of the most Grand Slam singles champions.
“Growing up,” Williams told the crowd in Rod Laver Arena, according to the Times, “I wasn’t the richest. But I had a rich family in spirit and support and standing here with 19 championships is something I never thought would happen.”