Serena Williams and Justine Henin took it down to the wire before Serena’s serve saw her through to her fifth Australian Open singles title with a 6-4, 3-6, 6-2 win that now ties her with Billie Jean King for 12 total Grand Slam titles.
Henin stuck with her new gameplan of more aggressive play especially attacking the Williams’ second serve. But it was Henin’s shaky first serve that probably cost her the match.
Serena served strong in the first set and was able to break Henin at 4-5 when Henin hit two aces and two doubles faults before a backhand volley sailed long for Serena to go up 6-4.
But Henin found her groove late in the second set after a double fault by Serena at 3-4 opened the door for Henin to run off ten straight points to win the second set 6-3. By then, with Henin in full flight and Serena looking sluggish, the match appeared to be Henin’s.
But Serena stopped the run of games at 1-1 and then both women exchanged breaks. Serena hit a screaming down the line backhand at 2-2 to eventually break again. She then managed to hold serve at 4-2 with a second serve ace. By then, Henin’s serve faltered as she dropped serve again at 5-2. Serena served it out comfortably up 40-15 falling to the court with her arms raised in victory.
Serena now ties Billie Jean King with 12 total Grand Slam singles titles and sixth overall in women’s tennis history. Margaret Court Smith, who holds the record with 24 total Grand Slam titles, presented both trophies during the awards ceremony.