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Summary

  1. Serena beats sister Venus 6-4 6-4
  2. Victory brings her an Open-era record 23rd major singles title
  3. Commentary on BBC Radio 5 live, highlights on BBC One at 13:15

Live Reporting

By Jonathan Jurejko

All times stated are UK

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Goodbye!

Serena Williams
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The smile says its all. Serena Williams is a seven-time Australian Open champion, a 23-time Grand Slam champion and the number one female player in the world again.

Read how she did it here.

That's all from me - make sure you join us again from 08:00 GMT tomorrow. There's a small match involving one bloke called Federer and another called Nadal. That should be alright.

Serena wins Australian Open

Even the usually-uncharitable Derek Zoolander has hailed the Williams sisters...

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'I'm so proud of you'

Serena wins Australian Open

And seconds after telling Serena in person, fiance Alexis Ohanian tells the entire world on Twitter...

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Serena celebrates with family

Serena wins Australian Open

Serena's smile is still wider than the Yarra river as she moves downstairs in the Rod Laver Arena. The first beaming face she sees belongs to long-time agent and friend Jill Smoller, the pair hugging warmly before Serena moves onto fiance Alexis Ohanian. The Reddit co-founder (the couple announced their engagement on the social media website by the way) whispers into his beau's ear - presumably not complaining that he didn't get a mention in her victory speech...

'They've always had passion'

Serena wins Australian Open

Jill Craybas

Former world number 39 on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

Being at the top of the game is gruelling and that's what gets to a lot of people. What the Williams sisters have both have done so well throughout their career is learn how to manage themselves. They know when to rest and recover and that's what they have been phenomenal at. From the beginning, they had that passion. If you have it from the beginning you don't lose it.

'An amazing life'

Serena wins Australian Open

And Billie Jean, herself a 10-time Grand Slam winner, also has some wonderful words for Venus...

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Billie Jean hails 'trailblazer' Serena

Serena wins Australian Open

You know someone is special when they are being hailed a hero by Billie Jean King...

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Emlyn Akoto-Dwemoh: Serena Williams. What. A. Woman. Powerful. Eloquent. Humble.

Ebunola A: So fitting Venus is the one who "helped" (can't think of a better word) Serena to make history as opponent #23

Charlotte Watson: It's never been in doubt but now it's official Serena Williams is the GREATEST OF ALL TIME!!!! 

S Williams 6-4 6-4 V Williams

A pair of Williams teeth-showing smiles are illuminating the darkened Rod Laver Arena. They're brighter than the aforementioned camera lights. A truly wonderful picture.

Serena trophy
AFP

S Williams 6-4 6-4 V Williams

A thunderous round of applause from the Laver crowd as Serena waves, twirls and steps down from the stage. Flashbulbs flicker from the army of press photographers at court-side, camera phones click in the stands. Everyone is desperate to capture this moment, uploading it onto their favoured social media account now doubt. Hope the Laver wi-fi can cope. 

'Venus is my inspiration'

S Williams 6-4 6-4 V Williams

Australian Open 2017 champion Serena Williams: "I really would like to take this moment to congratulate Venus. She's an amazing person. 

"There's no way I would be at 23 without her. There's no way I'd be at one without her. She's my inspiration. 

"She's the only reason I'm standing here today. She's the only reason the Williams sisters exist. Thank you for inspiring me. Every time you won this week, I felt like I got a win too. 

"She deserves an incredible round of applause, she's made an amazing comeback. I definitely think she'll be standing here next year. I don't like the world comeback - she never left."

Serena Williams
AFP

S Williams 6-4 6-4 V Williams

Now it is Serena's turn to step up to the mic - after she grabs hold of that sparkling bit of silverware. The 23-time Grand Slam winner cradles the trophy like a new-born baby, giving a speech that shows she is a great orator as well as a great tennis player.

Humour, gratitude, empathy - it has it all. "I'm going on - I'm trying to stay up here as long as possible," she beams. "I missed it last year!"

Serena celebrates
Reuters

'Serena, you mean the world to me'

S Williams 6-4 6-4 V Williams

Australian Open 2017 runner-up Venus Williams: "Congratulations Serena on number 23. I have been right there with you, some of them I lost right there against you. It's been an awesome win. 

"All those times i couldn't be there, didn't get there, you were there. I'm enormously proud of you, you mean the world to me.

"I am, God willing, would love to come back. Thank you for all the love."

S Williams 6-4 6-4 V Williams

"Serena Williams...wow. That is my little sister," beams Venus as she produces an on-stage performance worthy of an Oscar-winning acceptance speech. And why not. Her revival after debilitating illness at the age of 36 is worthy of a Hollywood plot line.

S Williams 6-4 6-4 V Williams

Margaret Court watches on from the comfy seats as Serena Williams stands alongside sister Venus, waiting to be called on to the stage which has been hastily erected up on court. Wonder what she is thinking? A part of her must be wishing Serena would just hang up her strings...

Venus and Serena Williams
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'Their story is a remarkable one'

S Williams 6-4 6-4 V Williams

Russell Fuller

BBC tennis correspondent on Radio 5 live sports extra

When you think where this story began, in the Californian neighbourhood of Compton, their dad begging clubs to donate their old tennis balls so they could practice. Their story is a remarkable one. Given the way she is playing, you have to say Serena is odds on to go past Margaret Court.

S Williams 6-4 6-4 V Williams

One youngish fella is waving a homemade sign up to the cameras, congratulating Serena on her 23rd Grand Slam title. That's put her ahead of Steffi Graf in terms of Open Era majors - as if you don't know. Only Margaret Court stands ahead of Serena in the all-time ranks now. Anyone betting against her equalling - or beating - Court's 24 this year? Didn't think so.

Serena Williams
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'It is insane what Serena is capable of'

S Williams 6-4 6-4 V Williams

Gigi Salmon

BBC Radio 5 live sports extra commentator

They said at the start of this, there would not be a loser. It was a win-win situation because a Williams would be lifting the trophy at the end of the day. Serena cannot believe it - she is a seven-time Australian Open champion. It is completely insane what this woman is capable of and what she keeps achieving.

S Williams 6-4 6-4 V Williams

Serena looks up to her box, waving one solitary finger on her right hand up to her box.

"I'm back at world number one!" is the message. And she's right. Serena climbs back above Angelique Kerber in the rankings with this victory.

Serena Williams
AFP

Game, set and match - Serena

S Williams 6-4 6-4 V Williams

All over. Serena Williams is the 2017 Australian Open champion!

Serena piles on the pressure, forcing Venus on to the back foot, only for the older sister to keep getting the ball back. Venus is rocking, eventually looping a forehand over the net but into the tramlines.

Serena falls to the court, Venus immediately jogs forward to the net. A sloppy kiss, a loving hug. A moment they're happy to share together.

Serena and Venus Williams
AFP

S Williams 6-4 5-4 V Williams

The Melbourne crowd goes quieter than your local library as Serena takes her time over a serve at 30-30. It works. She pulls one out of the bag, forcing Venus to crack a forehand into the net. Match point...

Venus Williams
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*S Williams 6-4 5-4 V Williams

Laver roars as Venus wins the opening point on Serena's serve, gasping a little when Serena levels up after Venus slaps ball into net...15-15.

A tug o' war of a rally, Serena pulling one way, Venus pulling back, ends when Serena plants a forehand into the net after Venus dusts a millimetre of the line. A 24-shot rally, 15-30...

*S Williams 6-4 5-4 V Williams

Venus is running uphill now. In mud. Wearing steel toe-capped boots. Serena leaves Venus panting with a forehand winner for 15-15, is she going to leave her behind now? No, Venus shows her guts and determination for the millionth time in her career, powering back with an ace. 

If Serena is going to win it, then she must do it on her own serve...

Venus Williams
AFP

S Williams 6-4 5-3 V Williams*

What a time for Serena to produce her best service game of the match. A hold to love whizzes past Venus quicker than a Ferrari on the autobahn.

Serena is one game away from her seventh Australian Open title. One game away from a record 23rd Grand Slam title...

Serena Williams
AFP

Serena breaks

*S Williams 6-4 4-3 V Williams

Third time lucky for Serena. Or third time unlucky for Venus. Serena continues to attack the Venus second serve, pouncing on a short ball with a bone-crunching backhand winner.

Serena is not quite on the home straight, but she's certainly storming around the final bend...

Serena reacts
EPA

Venus saves two break points

S Williams 6-4 3-3 V Williams*

The Laver crowd roars on Venus as she grabs a couple of balls. They don't want to go back into town for an early dinner.

The longest rally of the match ends in Venus crosscourt forehand flying past the baseline, bringing out a Serena fistpump. 

Break point for Serena. Saved! A bold second serve from Venus forces Serena into the net, but then she immediately tees up another. That disappears down the drain too, Serena putting too much beef into a forehand. On we go...

Venus shows her rustration
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S Williams 6-4 3-3 V Williams*

Serena turns up the aggression, galloping forward at 15-15, forcing Venus to retreat, almost alongside the line judges. Williams senior manages to get the ball back, dropping into the tramlines, Serena putting her foot down on the next two points. Venus scatters a couple of forehands out of the court.

Venus Williams
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'Hard dynamic between sisters'

Jill Craybas

Former world number 39 on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

This final means so much to both of them in their own ways, but I think they're thinking about each other, what it means to the other sister, and that has to be a hard dynamic when you're out there playing.

*S Williams 6-4 2-3 V Williams

Anything you can do, sis. More super serving from Venus as she closes out another hold relatively easily. After more breaks than a multipack of Kit Kats in the first, neither player has managed to convert one in the second.

Venus Williams
EPA

S Williams 6-4 2-2 V Williams*

Serena stares angrily into space as a double fault gives Venus a sniff at 40-30. But she is let off the hook when Venus wallops a forehand into the net with Serena stuck on the other side of the court. Chance gone.

Serena Williams
AFP

*S Williams 6-4 1-2 V Williams

What. A. Hold. Venus boosts her morale - and lifts the crowd with a superb turnaround. The match was in danger of running off into the distance there. Venus maintains her momentum by forcing Serena into an error and then wrapping up a gutsy hold with another forehand winner.

Venus Williams
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S Williams 6-4 1-1 V Williams*

Venus is staring down the barrel as a double fault gives Serena three break points. The pressure told there.

One break point is saved with a big serve down the middle, Serena clubbing back a long forehand.

A second break point also goes when Venus again hits the target at the first time of asking.

And the third is also saved! A third first serve in a row leaves Serena scrabbling and hauls Venus level. Deuce...

Serena Williams
EPA

S Williams 6-4 1-1 V Williams*

Serena has sparked up the stove and got herself cooking on gas. She races into a 40-0 lead with the help of an ace and a service winner, only to lose focus momentarily and allow Venus back in at 40-30. But she turns up the heat again, leaving Venus wilting with a loose forehand return.

Serena Williams
AFP

*S Williams 6-4 0-1 V Williams

A much better start to the second set by Venus, who clearly won't want to know that stat I've just told you. Or maybe she already does.

She kicks off the second set with an impressive hold, sealed when she drops to her haunches at the baseline to dig out a forehand winner.

Venus Williams
EPA

'Both of them want to be winners'

Nick Bollettieri, Venus and Serena's former coach, on 5 live: "Serena said to me, I’m tired of coming in second place. I said what are you going to do about it and she said, I start winning. 

"I don’t think it was in particular about beating Venus, she wanted to be a winner. Both of them do."

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S Williams 6-4 0-0 V Williams*

These two sisters have played each other 27 times in competitive matches. On only four occasions has the woman who lost the first set gone on to win...

Game and first set - Serena

S Williams 6-4 V Williams

Far from spectacular, not even steady. But it is first blood to Serena. She's found her service game just when she needed to.

Venus's shoulders slump towards the court, like a teenager just told she's grounded, as a backhand return goes long for 0-30. But she is blameless for the next two losing points, Serena blasting down a pair of aces to clinch it.

Serena celebrates
Reuters

*S Williams 5-4 V Williams

Pressure? What pressure? Venus digs deep when it matters - refusing to cough up her serve for a fourth time. Some splendid serving pins Serena back, a couple of forced errors from the backhand seeing Venus home.

For now... Serena serving for the set.

'You don't always need quality for excitement'

David Law

Radio 5 live sports extra commentator

It is subdued. It doesn't feel like a Gand Slam final. That could be due to the lack of consistent quality in this final. You don't always need quality to deliver excitement. If this stays tight and goes to three sets, with everything on the line, it could be a dramatic Melbourne evening.

S Williams 5-3 V Williams*

More like it from Serena - but still not without the odd blip. Trailing 15-30, Serena spanks down a timely fifth ace of the match, putting the pressure back on to Venus. She buckles with a wild forehand that troubles the line judge more than Serena.

And a lung-stretching forehand winner from Serena - who grunts loudly as she hammers in the winner - puts her within one game of the opening set.

Serena Williams
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