Serena Williams wins Australian Open for record 23rd major

Serena Williams defeated sister Venus to win the Australian Open Saturday morning, her record 23rd Grand Slam victory.

Serena William beat sister Venus 6-4, 6-4 in the Australian Open final Saturday to win her 23rd major. Serena now stands alone as the woman with the most Grand Slam victories in the Open era. She had previously held the record with Steffi Graf.

The match itself, despite some early hiccups, was relatively routine for Serena. The first four games all went against serve, and in the third Serena broke her racket in frustration after a slip. Serena broke through in the seventh game of the first set with a pair of backhand winners at 30-30.

The second set followed much the same pattern, minus the early breaks, with both sisters holding serve until the seventh game, when Serena broke with another backhand winner. Serena held serve twice more to ensure the victory, and to make history.

Serena tied Graf’s record of major wins at Wimbledon in 2016 at the fourth time of asking. She lost two consecutive Slam finals before that, and seemed to suffer mentally after falling excruciatingly short of winning all four majors in 2015.

There was a point at which the record seemed like it might remain out of reach, but Serena has proven her staying power before, and remains the woman to beat on the ATP tour even at the age of 35.

The victory also sees Serena rise to No. 1 in the world, ahead of Angelique Kerber, while Venus moves up to No. 11.

The Williams sisters hadn’t faced each other in a major final since 2009 at Wimbledon, where Serena was a straight sets winner as well. Serena’s head-to-head record against her sister is now 17-11.

The next step for Serena will be to overtake Margaret Court, whose 24 majors across the Open and amateur eras stand as a record. After the start to 2017 she’s had, few would bet against the world No. 1.