Serena Williams edged one step closer to Steffi Graf's all-time record in the Open era of 22 Grand Slam titles, after defeating number two seed Maria Sharapova in straight sets in Melbourne today, after one hour and fifty-one minutes of play. The final that the organisers were hoping for, as the top two seeds successfully navigated their separate paths through to the deciding match, wasn't perhaps the ideal three-setter that would have put the icing on the cake, but was still an absorbing contest before Williams became the title holder with a 6-3 7-6 victory.

Sharapova is still waiting to end her drought against Serena, after the sixteenth defeat in a row at her hands, with her last success coming way back in 2004 during her early years on the tour. That year she defeated the American to claim her only Wimbledon success and four more Slams have come her way since, as she has grown in stature. However, she has never quite been able to scale the peaks that Williams can display when at her best and it was a similar story yet again in the Australian final, as Serena grabbed her sixth title Down Under.

Despite still suffering from a cold, Williams' seems to be over the hiccups she had demonstrated in earlier matches in Australia, both in these championships and also in the mixed-team Hopman Cup event.

Her serving against the Russian opposition this time around was exemplary, as she held off a spirited fight back by Sharapova in the second set, who somehow managed to stay in the game and fend off the barrage she was receiving. The tie-break could have gone either way and would have set up an intriguing decider if the current French champion had taken it, but it was not to be.

The final was delayed during the first set due to a rain interruption, allowing time for the roof to be closed and Williams to empty the contents of her stomach, as she was clearly not feeling at her best. On her return to the court, she showed few signs of her ailment and struck a remarkable 18 aces and 38 winners in all, during a brutal display of Tennis.

Fittingly, she sealed the success with yet another ace on the Rod Laver Arena, before celebrating her victory.

The number one seed's nineteenth Grand Slam singles' title to add to her 13 doubles' successes, moved her one ahead of two iconic ladies from the recent past, Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert. She of course deserves to be considered among the elite of the game and there could yet be more Slams to come this year, if she can maintain her focus and interest in the game, as seems to be the case at present.