Serena Williams claimed the 19th grandslam title of her career as the world number one made light work of Maria Sharapova to take the Australian Open crown for the sixth time.
Sharapova – whose last won against Williams in 2004 – got off to a horrendous start, serving a double fault in the opening game. Williams held serve for a 3-2 lead but then the rain came, forcing a short delay to allow the roof to be closed.
Sharapova did break back but the American responded straight back breaking the second seed for the third time to win the first set 6-3.
Sharapova saved two break points at the start of the second set, but Williams was not to be outdone in the serving stakes as she hammered down 11 aces in four service games.
Sharapova snatched a break point in the seventh game after Williams prematurely celebrated for what she thought was another ace. This did not break Williams as Sharapova had to save a match point at 4-5, producing a forehand winner right into the corner.
It would take a tie-break to decided the second set and after losing the first point, Williams won four in succession until two unforced errors gave Sharapova a lifeline.
A forehand return winner then gave Williams two more match points and after Sharapova had saved the first, Williams composed herself and smashed down her 18th ace of the match to seal victory 6-3 7-6 (7/5).
The win means the 33-year-old has won more grand slam singles title than Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova and now is just three off the open-era record of 22 held by Steffi Graf.