Williams overpowers Sharapova to win 19th grand slam

Sat Jan 31, 2015 6:24am EST
 
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By Greg Stutchbury

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Top seed Serena Williams fought off a barking cough to clinch her 19th grand slam singles title with a 6-3 7-6(5) victory over Maria Sharapova in the Australian Open final on Saturday.

Williams's sixth title at Melbourne Park moved her into a tie with fellow American Helen Wills Moody in third on the all-time list after she joined Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert on 18 at last year's U.S. Open.

Only Australia's Margaret Court (24) and Germany's Steffi Graf (22), who holds the record for the Open era, have more grand slam singles titles than the 33-year-old American.

"Growing up, I wasn't the richest, but I had a rich family in spirit and support," Williams said at the trophy presentation. "Standing here with 19 championships is something I never thought would happen.

"I went on the courts with a ball and racquet and hope and that's all I had.

"I'm so honored to be here tonight and to hold this 19th trophy."

Williams had not lost to Sharapova since the 2004 WTA Finals, a run of 15 successive victories and was not about to let the Russian end that streak on Saturday.

The tone of the match was set in the first game when Williams broke the Russian's serve.   Continued...

 
Serena Williams poses with her trophy after defeating Maria Sharapova of Russia in their women's singles final match at the Australian Open 2015 tennis tournament in Melbourne January 31, 2015.  REUTERS/Carlos Barria