Serena Williams Wins Third Aussie Open Title
January 27, 2007
Melbourne, Australia (AHN) -
Serena Williams is officially back on the map.
Williams won her third Australian Open title and her eighth Grand Slam, dominating Maria Sharapova 6-1, 6-2.
"It was an awesome win, because I had so many critics. So many people ... saying negative things," said Williams, who was unseeded and ranked 81st in the world coming into the tournament. "Saying I wasn't fit, when I felt that I was really fit, and I could last three sets.
"It's always like, tell me no and I'll show you that I can do it. I get the greatest satisfaction just holding up the Grand Slam trophy and proving everyone wrong."
Williams is only the second unseeded player to win the Australian Open. The 25-year-old has already bounced back from an injury-plagued 2006 and will be No. 14 in the WTA rankings next week.
The victory was the most dominating in an Aussie Open final since Steffi Graf beat Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario 6-0, 6-2 in 1994.
Williams dedicated the win to half sister Yetunde Price, who was killed in a 2003 shooting.
"Most of all I would like to dedicate this win to my sister, who's not here. Her name is Yetunde. I just love her so much," she said, her voice cracking. "I'll try not to get teary-eyed but I said a couple of days ago, if I win this it's going to be for her. So thanks Tunde."
The only other unseeded women's player to win the Aussie Open was No. 111 Chris O'Neil in 1978.
Sharapova had no answer for Williams, who started aggressive and eventually won 12 straight match points.
"You can never underestimate her as a performer. ... I know what she's capable of and she showed that today," said Sharapova, who despite the loss will be the new No. 1. "She has showed it many, many times."
Williams ran out to a 5-0 lead in the first set before Sharapova saved a break point to make it 5-1. Williams served out and won the first set in just 26 minutes.
Williams got out to a 4-0 advantage in the second set before Sharapova broke on love. Williams finished off Sharapova with a backhand in 1 hour, 3 minutes.
Williams missed nine tournaments in 2006 after losing in the third round of last year's Aussie Open. Her win over No. 5 Nadia Petrova was her first over a top-10 opponent since 2005.
Another reason women's sports suck - they only played two sets to determine the championship? Play by the same rules. A man could come out and drop two sets, recover, and win the match in 5 sets.