Melbourne Magic: Serena Tops Venus For 23rd Major
Tennis fans were treated to a storyline all too familiar on Saturday evening, but one that had not been replayed since 2009. Featuring arguably the greatest sibling rivalry in sports history, Serena Williams defeated Venus Williams 6-4, 6-4 at the Australian Open to secure an Open Era record 23rd major singles title. It marked the ninth meeting between the two in a Grand Slam final.
As a result, Serena will return to the top of the WTA Singles Rankings on Monday. Serena, who now stands just one major title behind the all-time record holder Margaret Court, had nothing but words of admiration and respect afterwards for her big sister Venus, who was contesting her first final at Melbourne Park in 14 years.
“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,” Serena stated during her on-court speech. “She's the only reason I'm standing here today and the only reason the Williams sisters exist. Thank you Venus for inspiring me to be the best player I can be. Every time you won this week, I felt like I got a win too. Thank you so much.”
Venus was aiming to win her eighth major singles crown and first since the 2008 Wimbledon Championships where she got the better of Serena. Venus had battled past fellow Mylan WTT Family member CoCo Vandeweghe (Philadelphia Freedoms) in three sets to reach the Melbourne title match and reflected on returning to compete on the Grand Slam stage during the final weekend.
“It was great to have an opportunity to play for the title,” Venus, now 36, said. “That's exactly where I want to be standing during these Grand Slams, on finals day, having an opportunity. That's the highlight of all this, is to be in that moment.”
Venus and Serena were not the only members of the Washington Kastles contingent to step onto Rod Laver Arena Saturday evening. Third seeds Bob and Mike Bryan played for their 17th major team title and fought hard before going down to fourth-seeded Henri Kontinen and John Peers, 7-5, 7-5.
Despite the loss, it was a strong effort for the six-time champions, who ended a three-year streak of falling in the third round Down Under. The Bryans were playing in their 30th Grand Slam final together.
All photos: Andy Cheung / arckimages.com