Serena Williams, Roger Federer lock up Australian Open
Serena prevailed defeating sister Venus 6-4, 6-4 to win the title, as well as her 23rd grand slam title. The win moved her past Steffi Graf on the list of all-time slam winners and she now is just one shy of Margaret Court’s long-standing record of 24. She is also the only player, man or woman, to win 23 Grand Slam singles titles in the Open Era. The victory also won her back the world number one ranking from Angelique Kerber. At age 35, Serena shows no signs of slowing down and has her sights set on the record. Williams holds the title of oldest women’s champion at a major in the Open Era, which set after winning the 2016 Wimbledon title.
“It’s such a great feeling to have 23,” Williams said. “It really feels great. I’ve been chasing it for a really long time. It feels like, really long time. When it got on my radar, I knew I had an opportunity to get there, and I’m here.”
But Serena wasn’t the only one who set a record. Venus became the oldest finalist in Melbourne in the professional era and won the hearts of many who followed her unlikely run to the championship.
“Serena Williams, that’s my little sister, guys,” she said beaming. “Congratulations Serena on number 23, I’ve been right there with you, some of them I’ve lost with you. Your win has always been my win, you know that. I’m enormously proud of you, you mean the world to me.”
The sisters met on the same court where 14 years ago, Serena won her first Melbourne Park crown. Both showed signs of emotion and some nerves as the first four games saw service breaks and a broken racket from Serena in the third game after slipping trying to change directions. Once both sisters were settled, their match was determined by the force behind Serena’s returns, Venus winning only 29% of her second serve.
On the men’s side, Roger Federer won his 18th Grand Slam Title, beating long-time rival and friend Rafael Nadal 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3. Federer came back from being off for six-months due to a knee injury. His last Grand Slam was in 2012 after winning his seventh Wimbledon. Before the tournament, Federer was ranked number 17 in the world and was not among the favorites to win in Melbourne, as questions arose about his ability to challenge the top players.
He squashed those doubts as he became the oldest man to win a Grand Slam singles title in 45 years. To get to the final, Federer played through three five-set matches in the final four rounds beating four top 10 ranked opponents.
“I was able to show, especially after the tough year I had last year, how to make the right decisions and get past that. And how to move on and right away to create this sort of fairytale story at the beginning of this year,” he said after winning.
“Honestly, I never thought I’d be able to win this tournament. I still can’t believe I was able to make it all happen. This one has a very special, different taste than all the other Grand Slams I ever won. Coming back, getting older, and people have written me off maybe, makes this one so unique,” the former world number one added.