Defending champion and top seed Serena Williams won her fifth Australian Open title when she beat a brave Justine Henin 6-4, 3-6, 6-2 on Saturday.
Williams won a tight first set then had to hold off a charging Henin to deny the Belgian a fairytale ending to her tennis comeback in a thrilling two hours seven minutes final on Rod Laver Arena.
The American claimed her 12th Grand Slam title with the win, putting her equal with fellow American Billie Jean King on the list of all time Grand Slam winners.
But she was made to work hard for it by a tenacious Henin, playing only her second tournament since coming out of an 18-month retirement and needing a wildcard to play the tournament.
In the end it was the sheer power of Williams that won out as her huge serves and booming groundstrokes eventually wore Henin down and forced costly errors.
Williams served better than Henin throughout, making 64 percent of her first serves as opposed to Henin’s 55 percent, with many of those unplayable.
Henin showed, however, that she will be a real force on the tour later in the year and will be a strong chance to add to her seven major titles at the three remaining Grand Slams.
Paes ready to roll
The last couple of times they reached a Grand Slam final, Leander Paes and Cara Black ended up on the losing side and the pair will aim to break that jinx in the Australian Open mixed doubles summit clash on Sunday. Paes will equal the record for the most Grand Slam title wins by an Indian if he and Black manage to lift the title.
Meanwhile, Mike and Bob Bryan defended their doubles title with a 6-3, 6-7, 6-3 win over Canada’s Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjic of Serbia.