Serena overcame a nervy and error-strewn start when she smashed a racquet in frustration before reeling in a tense 6-4, 6-4 victory in one hour, 22 minutes.
It was all about the result for Serena, who clinched a new Open-era record of 23 major wins, overhauling Steffi Graf’s 22 -- and returned to world number one into the bargain.
“Today was all heart out there, I was just fighting. The fact that she is so good made it that much harder,” Serena told Australia’s Channel Seven.
She added: “I swear I didn’t hit the racquet that hard -- how did it crack that much?”
Newly-engaged Serena, 35, said she deliberately avoided any talk of Graf’s record during the tournament, a strategy that helped her relax.
“It is crazy. I knew I had a chance (of breaking the record). But I didn’t like to talk about records anymore. That helped me relax,” she said.
“I came into this tournament really thinking that I didn’t have anything to lose and nothing to prove. I just told myself to have fun and it worked for me. I was relaxed this time.”