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Serena Williams wins 10th Grand Slam title

Serena Williams routed Dinara Safina 6-0, 6-3 on Saturday to win the Australian Open - her 10th Grand Slam title - and return to the No 1 ranking.

sports Updated: Jan 31, 2009 16:51 IST
Paul Alexander
Paul Alexander

Serena Williams routed Dinara Safina 6-0, 6-3 on Saturday to win the Australian Open - her 10th Grand Slam title - and return to the No 1 ranking.

It was total domination for second-seeded Williams, who looked at ease in winning back-to-back Grand Slam titles and was moving fluidly on the court.

It was a sharp contrast to No. 3 Safina, who was tight from the start.

In the first game, Safina double-faulted three times, including on break point. Williams ran off 18 of the last 20 points in the first set to finish it in 22 minutes.

Other than matches that ended early due to illness or injury, it was the most lopsided Australian Open women's final since 1962, when Margaret Smith beat Jan Lehane 6-0, 6-2.

It was Williams' second overwhelming victory in a final at Melbourne Park, where she kept alive her record of winning in odd-numbered years since 2003. Coming into the 2007 tournament unseeded after being plagued by injuries the year before, she beat top-seeded Maria Sharapova 6-1, 6-2.

Sharapova rebounded to win last year but was unable to defend her title while recuperating from a shoulder injury.

After Melbourne's hottest three-day heat wave on record, conditions were nearly perfect for the tournament's first women's final at night, but Rod Laver Arena was less than capacity, with large patches of empty seats scattered around the upper deck of the 15,000-seat stadium.

On Sunday, top-ranked Rafael Nadal will face No. 2 Roger Federer in the men's final. Federer will be trying to tie Pete Sampras' record of 14 major titles, while Nadal is seeking his third Grand Slam out of the last four, missing only the U.S. Open last September that was won by the Swiss star.

Safina looked nothing like the player who won four titles and the Beijing Olympics silver medal last year. Increasingly dispirited, the crowd tried to encourage her, and she managed to break Williams in the first game of the second set.

It just delayed the inevitable.

Williams took the next four games, and things got so bad that Safina swung and completely missed a forehand while serving at 2-5. She managed to win the game, but Williams held at love when Safina sent a backhand wide on match point.

Williams went over to slap hands with her mother and other people sitting in her box as Safina, looking shellshocked, sat in her chair waiting for the trophy presentation.

After struggling with her form earlier in the tournament, Williams finished with 23 winners and just seven unforced errors in the final.

It was Williams' 20th overall Grand Slam title. She won her eighth women's doubles crown with sister Venus on Friday and has two mixed-doubles championships.

First Published: Jan 31, 2009 15:21 IST