MELBOURNE--Serena Williams of the USA who in Melbourne labeled herself "the ultimate competitor" delivered the impossible Friday night
USA time at the Australian Open as she distroyed world number one and US Open champion Maria Sharapova 6-1, 6-2 in only 63 minutes
to claim her third Australian title in five years.
Williams, who entered the tournament ranked 81 due to a layoff from the WTA Tour due to a knee injury, had struggled in her only warmup
tournament earlier this month in Hobart losing in the quarterfinals to an unknown in three sets. I thought however before the tournament Serena
could and would raise the level of her game as she grew more match tough, and
I picked her to win the tournament beating Sharapova in the final.
But nobody could have forseen last night's flawless display where Serena hit 28 winners to only 11 errors; rutinely smacking crosscourt
winners that kissed the sideline from her supposedly "weaker" forehand side. Williams also hit seven aces and never lost serve throughout the match.
Afterwards a teary
eyed Serena dedicated the win to her half-sister who was murdered in California in 2003. "I just thought about how happy she would have
been... about what an amazing sister she was to me. I just said, 'Serena, this has to
be more than enough to motivate me.' And I think it was."
Being ranked 81 and unseeded, Serena could have faced a top player in the first round where she did defeat the 27th seed Mara Santangelo
before victories in the following rounds over Nadia Petrova (5), Jelena Jankovic (11), Shahar Peer (16) and Nicole Vaidisova (10). And after falling
behind early and mounting comeback after comeback in her first few matches, Williams' game was at a whole other level in the final as she raced
to a 5-0 set one lead.
In closing out the match with her seventh ace, Williams provided exhibit A that she is still among the elite in
women's tennis. "It was an awesome win, because I had so many critics. So many people ... saying negative things," Williams said. "It's like,
tell me no and I'll show you that I can do it. I get the greatest satisfaction just holding up the Grand Slam trophy and proving everyone wrong.