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Last Updated: Saturday, 27 January 2007, 03:47 GMT
Superb Williams wins Aussie title
By Piers Newbery

Serena Williams
Williams has now won eight Grand Slam singles titles in her career
Serena Williams demolished top seed Maria Sharapova in a one-sided final to win her third Australian Open and eighth Grand Slam title on Saturday.

The unseeded American's speed and power overwhelmed Sharapova 6-1 6-2 in one hour two minutes.

Victory caps a remarkable comeback for Williams, who slipped to 81 in the rankings after a serious knee injury.

The 25-year-old will move up to 14 in the world next week, while Sharapova will regain the number one spot.

Williams is the first unseeded woman to win the title since Chris O'Neill in 1978 and only the second ever.

"You can never underestimate her as an opponent," said 19-year-old Sharapova.

"I know what she's capable of and she showed that today. She's an amazing champion and she's showed it here many times.

Most of all I would like to dedicate this win to my sister who's not here any more, Yetunde, I just love her so much

Serena Williams

"I look forward to playing her many more times and winning a few, I hope."

Williams responded: "I'd like to thank Maria for being such a great champion.

"She has many more years to go than I do, she's such a great fighter and always fighting to the last point, which is what I like to see."

The match was played with the roof above Rod Laver Arena closed on a cold and wet day in Melbourne.

And it was a humbling experience for new world number one Sharapova, who was blasted off the court from the opening moments.

Williams climbed all over the Sharapova serve and dominated with her own, giving the Russian few opportunities to get a foothold in the match.

606: DEBATE
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Under severe pressure, Sharapova double-faulted twice on her way to dropping serve in the second game, and two fizzing returns gave Williams another break in game four.

After five games Sharapova was still to make a single winner and the first set raced by in 27 minutes.

And there was no let-up in the second set as Williams broke immediately with a backhand winner down the line.

The only glimpse of hope for Sharapova came in the following game when Williams made two double faults to give up a break point, but she recovered with an ace.

Sharapova was able to hold a couple of service games to make the score slightly more respectable but Williams was never threatened, sealing victory with a backhand winner before falling to the floor in celebration.

And afterwards she dedicated the win to her half-sister Yetunde Price, who was shot dead in Los Angeles in 2003.

"Most of all I would like to dedicate this win to my sister who's not here any more, Yetunde, I just love her so much," she said.

SEE ALSO
Men's Australian Open draw
13 Jan 07 |  Tennis
Women's Australian Open draw
13 Jan 07 |  Tennis


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