28 January 2017

23: Serena Williams sets major record with win over Venus

Ukraine's Marta Kostyuk makes a backhand return in the girls singles final against Switzerland's Rebeka Masarova at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017.
Serena Williams held up a Grand Slam winner's trophy for the 23rd time, celebrating her unrivalled place in history, and received a congratulatory letter and a pair of custom-made shoes from Michael Jordan, the name most synonymous with No. 23.
Venus Williams got to watch from close range again, and shed tears more of joy than regret after being beaten in a major final for the seventh time by her record-breaking younger sister.

Serena won the all-Williams final, the ninth in Grand Slam history and the second in Australia, 6-4, 6-4 on Saturday night.
With her record seventh Australian Open title, Serena moved ahead of Steffi Graf for the most major titles in the Open era.
The Williams sisters are close. They started out playing together in Compton, California, hardly a hotbed for tennis, with their father Richard and mother Oracene as coach and mentor. And they still practice and travel together around the world.
They met for the first time at a major at Melbourne Park in 1998 — Venus won that one. In 2003, when the younger of the Williams siblings completed her "Serena Slam" of four consecutive titles, Venus was on the other side of the net. She didn't reach another Australian final for 14 years.
When Serena sat on the court, holding both arms up to celebrate on Saturday, Venus walked over to her sister's side of the net for a hug.
Switzerland's Rebeka Masarova reacts during the girls singles final against Ukraine's Marta Kostyuk at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017.
"This was a tough one," Serena said. "I really would like to take this moment to congratulate Venus, she's an amazing person — she's my inspiration.
"There's no way I would be at 23 without her — there's no way I would be at one without her. Thank you Venus for inspiring me to be the best player I can be and inspiring me to work hard."
Asked if it felt awkward to be on the receiving end of so many losses to her sister, the 36-year-old Venus didn't flinch.
"No, because I guess I've been here before," she said. "I really enjoy seeing the name Williams on the trophy. This is a beautiful thing."
Venus won the last of her seven majors in 2008 at Wimbledon. She didn't make the second week of a major for a few years as she came to terms with an energy-sapping illness after being diagnosed with Sjogren's syndrome in 2011. And she only made it back to the semifinals last year at Wimbledon.
Another shot at a first Australian Open title was a sign of progress, she said.
"That's exactly where I want to be standing during these Grand Slams, is on finals day, having an opportunity," she said. "That's the highlight of all this, is to be in that moment."
United States' Serena Williams follows through on a backhand return to her sister Venus during the women's singles final at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017.
Serena Williams, meanwhile, enjoyed the fact she made history in Melbourne. Only Margaret Court, with 24, is in front of her in terms of overall Grand Slam singles titles, although the Australian great won 13 of her Grand Slams before the Open era began in 1968.
"My first Grand Slam started here, and getting to 23 here, but playing Venus, it's stuff that legends are made of," Serena said. "I couldn't have written a better story."
The match didn't live up to its classic billing, with nerves and tension causing uncharacteristic mistakes and unforced errors, with four consecutive service breaks before Venus finally held for a 3-2 lead in the first set. That included a game when Serena had game point but served back-to-back double-faults and three in all to give up the break.
There were six service breaks in total. Both players were relatively subdued, except when Serena smashed her racket in the third game.
After the fourth game, however, Serena Williams didn't face another break point in the 1-hour, 22-minute match.
United States' Venus Williams reacts after losing a point to her sister Serena during the women's singles final at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017.
"Serena Williams, that's my little sister," Venus said. "I have been right there with you. Some of them I have lost right there against you. It's been an awesome thing, your win has always been my win."
In terms of total years, it was the oldest Grand Slam women's final in the Open era —the Williams sisters combining for 71 years, 11 months.
Roger Federer will be aiming to increase his all-time men's record to 18 when he takes on 14-time major winner Rafael Nadal on Sunday, completing the singles finals lineup of all 30-somethings.
Bob and Mike Bryan missed out on a doubles record, losing the final 7-5, 7-5 to Henri Kontinen of Finland and John Peers of Australia.
United States' Venus Williams throws her head back after losing a point to her sister, Serena, during the women's singles final at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017.
The third-seeded twins were trying to win their 17th Grand Slam title, which would have tied them with John Newcombe.
Speaking of records, Serena got a little bit superstitious Down Under, and hadn't wanted to talk about the No. 23 until she got it.
Now there's a limited-edition racket — 23 of them to be released — and some custom-made shoes sent by former NBA great Jordan. It had Jordan's usual jersey number No. 23 stamped on the heel, helping to provide some synchronicity for the numbers involved. 
(AP)          
Supporters of United States' Serena Williams watch her match against sister Venus from the players box at the women's singles final at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017.
Supporters of United States' Serena Williams watch her match against sister Venus from the players box at the women's singles final at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017. 
United States' Serena Williams, left, holds her trophy after defeating her sister, Venus, right, in the women's singles final at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017.
United States' Serena Williams, left, holds her trophy after defeating her sister, Venus, right, in the women's singles final at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017.                
United States' Serena Williams holding her trophy at right, addresses the spectators, in front of her sister Venus, second from left, and former champion Hana Mandlikova, after her women's singles final victory, at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017.
United States' Serena Williams holding her trophy at right, addresses the spectators, in front of her sister Venus, second from left, and former champion Hana Mandlikova, after her women's singles final victory, at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017.                       
United States' Serena Williams points at shoes given to her by compatriot Michael Jordan to celebrate her 23rd Grand Slam title after defeating her sister Venus in the women's singles final at Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017.
United States' Serena Williams points at shoes given to her by compatriot Michael Jordan to celebrate her 23rd Grand Slam title after defeating her sister Venus in the women's singles final at Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017.       
United States' Serena Williams celebrates after defeating her sister Venus in the women's singles final at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017.
United States' Serena Williams celebrates after defeating her sister Venus in the women's singles final at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017.
United States' Serena Williams holds her trophy after defeating her sister Venus during the women's singles final at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017.
United States' Serena Williams holds her trophy after defeating her sister Venus during the women's singles final at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017.                       
United States' Serena Williams, right, and her sister Venus, left, embrace after Serena won the women's singles final at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017.
United States' Serena Williams, right, and her sister Venus, left, embrace after Serena won the women's singles final at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017.                   
United States' Serena Williams poses with her trophy after defeating her sister Venus to win the women's singles final at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Sunday, Jan. 29, 2017.
United States' Serena Williams poses with her trophy after defeating her sister Venus to win the women's singles final at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Sunday, Jan. 29, 2017.          
United States' Serena Williams holds her trophy after defeating her sister Venus during their women's singles final at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017.
United States' Serena Williams holds her trophy after defeating her sister Venus during their women's singles final at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017.                       
United States' Serena Williams celebrates after defeating her sister Venus in the women's singles final at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017.
United States' Serena Williams celebrates after defeating her sister Venus in the women's singles final at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017.
United States' Serena Williams answers questions at a press conference after defeating her sister Venus to win the women's singles final at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017.
United States' Serena Williams answers questions at a press conference after defeating her sister Venus to win the women's singles final at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017. 

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