Got a TV Licence?

You need one to watch live TV on any channel or device, and BBC programmes on iPlayer. It’s the law.

Find out more
I don’t have a TV Licence.

Summary

  1. Williams beats Sharapova 6-3 7-6 (7-5)
  2. Top seed Williams wins 19th Grand Slam
  3. Sharapova not beaten Williams in 11 years
  4. Williams leads head-to-head 17-2
  5. Get involved: #bbctennis on Twitter, 81111 via text

Live Reporting

By Jonathan Jurejko

All times stated are UK

Get involved

  1. Post update

    Murray v Djokovic (08:30 GMT, Sunday)

    Murray

    And now it is also time for us to say goodbye - until tomorrow of course. If you're struggling to contain your excitement ahead of Murray v Djokovic, then keep busy with these two must-read pieces ahead of the final.

    See you tomorrow! And remember - set those alarm clocks.

  2. Post update

    Williams 6-3 7-6 (7-5) Sharapova

    Get inside Serena! Hanging around in the Melbourne rain will not help the world number one's sniffling cold and barking cough one little bit.

    Williams felt so bad during a rain delay in the first set that she left the court to vomit. But it was Sharapova who was left feeling sick as she watched Serena hit 18 aces and 38 winners as she won in one hour and 51 minutes.

    Watch the moment where Williams sealed her sixth Australian Open title with an ace.

  3. Serena wins Australian Open

    Williams 6-3 7-6 (7-5) Sharapova

    Piers Newbery

    BBC Sport at Melbourne Park

    Williams has finally finished her victory lap of Rod Laver Arena after seemingly meeting everyone in the front row individually, she's so overjoyed. She has walked the tunnels below the arena with trophy in hand and negotiated the rain under an umbrella as she heads for Australian television, pausing on the long flight of stairs for a breather. "I'm so cold," she says on arriving at Channel 7, who wrap her in a towel.

  4. BBC coverage

    Murray v Djokovic (08:30 GMT, Sunday)

    Sunday mornings are usually a time for a kickabout on the football pitch, a fry-up at your local greasy spoon, or lazing around in bed until midday.

    Not tomorrow. Set your alarm clocks nice and early - because you simply cannot miss Andy Murray's bid to win his first Australian Open title. And once you wake up from your slumber you won't miss a serve or winner thanks to BBC Sport.

    Television coverage starts at 08:15 GMT on BBC One, the BBC Radio 5 live team will begin their build-up at 06:00, while text commentary right here on the BBC Sport website will start at 07:30.

  5. Post update

    Murray v Djokovic (08:30 GMT, Sunday)

    Piers Newbery

    BBC Sport at Melbourne Park

    Andy Murray update - the British number one has been out for a hard practice session today after taking it a little easier on Friday as he enjoys the relatively rare two-day break between matches.

    In relaxed mood when he spoke to the media a little earlier today, he put the pressure on Novak Djokovic. "He has a fantastic record here," said Murray. "He obviously loves the court and the conditions. It would be a big upset if I manage to win."

  6. 'It would be a big upset if I win'

    Murray v Djokovic (08:30 GMT, Sunday)

    Andy Murray is aiming for his first Australian Open title when he plays Novak Djokovic in Sunday's final.

    At his news conference earlier today, Murray said: "I know it's going to be extremely difficult. If I want to win it will be tough and challenging physically.

    "Novak has a fantastic record here. He loves the court and conditions, it would be quite a big upset if I win."

    Andy Murray
  7. More to come

    Murray v Djokovic (08:30 GMT, Sunday)

    Today's match between Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova was the first Australian Open final between the top two female players in the world since 2004. And, although Sharapova couldn't force a third set, the high-quality match did not disappoint.

    Guess what? We have got to go through it all again tomorrow. Why? For the small matter of Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic in the men's final...

  8. Reaction from other players

    Williams 6-3 7-6 (7-5) Sharapova

    Former world number one Caroline Wozniacki on Twitter: "Big congratulations to my big sis Serena Williams on #19! Such an inspiration. #champ."

    Kim Clijsters, the 2011 Australian Open winner, writes on Twitter: "Serena showed why she is the number one. #toogood."

    American Bethanie Mattek-Sands, a winner in the 2015 Australian Open women's doubles competition, says on Twitter: "Amazing match to watch. And what a clutch ace on match point after the let. Serena Williams focused and breaking records."

  9. Swan beaten in girls' final

    Katie Swan

    Like Maria Sharapova, Britain's Katie Swan missed out on a Grand Slam title as she lost the Australian Open girls' final ahead of the main event.

    The 15-year-old from Bristol struggled with a leg injury during a 6-1 6-4 defeat by Slovakian Tereza Mihalikova on Rod Laver Arena.

    Swan was hoping to become the first Briton to win the title since Annabel Croft in 1984. She joins compatriot Laura Robson as a girls' runner-up in Australia, with Robson making the 2009 and 2010 finals.

    Katie Swan
  10. Get involved

    #bbctennis

    Serena Williams

    MariaThierryHenry: Wow that speech was inspirational! She talks so well just like how she plays. Serena Williams such a legend.

    Jonny Harper: Serena Williams: "Prayers not to win but for strength" Wonderful wisdom. "All glory to God." Wonderful humility.

    Mellor&Scott: Congrats to Serena Willams on a 19th slam. A brutally high level of tennis. Maria Sharapova would have beaten anyone else today

  11. Post update

    Williams 6-3 7-6 (7-5) Sharapova

    Emotional stuff from Serena as she gives "probably my longest speech" after a Grand Slam win. "I love you Serena!" shouts one female fan. "I love you too," replies the champion. Awww. We have a love-in here at Rod Laver Arena.

  12. Player reaction

    Williams 6-3 7-6 (7-5) Sharapova

    Serena Williams

    Australian Open winner Serena Williams says: "I have to congratulate Maria, she played a wonderful match and she really pushed me. She played so well and gave me a great final not only for the fans, but for women's tennis. I'm really honoured to play her in the final.

    "Growing up I wasn't the richest, but I had a rich family in spirit and support. Standing here with 19 championships is something I never thought would happen. I went on court with a ball, a racquet and hope, that's all I had. And it's an inspiration for you guys who want to be the best - you can be, never give up and you don't know who you can inspire.

    "I'm so honoured to be here standing with my 19th title - I'm just so excited."

  13. Serena wins Australian Open

    Williams 6-3 7-6 (7-5) Sharapova

    Martina Navratilova smiles as she hands over the grand silver trophy to Serena Williams. But the Czech-American must be slightly upset inside as she contemplates dropping to third on the all-time list of female Grand Slam winners.

  14. Serena wins Australian Open

    Williams 6-3 7-6 (7-5) Sharapova

    Serena Williams looks almost embarrassed as the head of the presentation party reels off her tennis achievements. Six Australian Opens and 19 Grand Slams in case you've forgotten.

    "An icon, a phenomenon, a legend," he gushes. It's hard to disagree. Although Williams shakes her head as his words ring around the Rod Laver Arena.

  15. Player reaction

    Williams 6-3 7-6 (7-5) Sharapova

    Maria Sharapova

    Beaten finalist Maria Sharapova says: "First of all I want to congratulate Serena on creating history and playing some of her best tennis. It's an honour to play against her.

    "I've not beaten her for a long time, but I love every time I play her as she is the best and you want to play against the best.

    "It has been a long couple of weeks. I was almost down and out in the second round and gave myself a second life in the tournament. It was not enough today, but I gave it everything. I love playing in the Rod Laver Arena, I've had some of my best memories and toughest losses, but that's the life of a tennis player."

  16. Match statistics

    Williams 6-3 7-6 (7-5) Sharapova

    Statistics
  17. Post update

    Williams 6-3 7-6 (7-5) Sharapova

    Andrew Castle

    BBC tennis commentator on BBC Two

    "Absolute credit to Maria Sharapova. You can't play a better match and lose in straight sets. She tried everything possible to make it happen."

  18. Serena wins Australian Open

    Williams 6-3 7-6 (7-5) Sharapova

    Maria Sharapova steps forward first, exchanging kisses with Martina Navratilova to receive the runners-up plate, rapturous applause ringing in her ears. The Russian begins her post-match speech by praising arch-rival Williams, who heartily claps back.

  19. Serena wins Australian Open

    Williams 6-3 7-6 (7-5) Sharapova

    A host of smartly-dressed Australian Open officials walk on to the hastily-erected stage in the middle of Rod Laver Arena as they prepare to present Williams with the Daphne Akhurst trophy.

    The great Martina Navratilova, who has just watched Serena move past her mark of 18 Grand Slam titles to go second behind Steffi Graf in the all-time list, is also there to hand over the prize.

  20. Serena wins Australian Open

    Williams 6-3 7-6 (7-5) Sharapova

    While Williams goes over to her box to celebrate, Sharapova sits motionless in her chair. She's probably asking herself when Serena is going to pack up and retire...

  21. Serena wins Australian Open

    Williams 6-3 7-6 (7-5) Sharapova

    Serena Williams smiles

    The grin is still stuck to Serena's face as she shakes hands with her opponent. Sharapova appears gracious in defeat, despite the obvious disappointment. But her nightmare against Serena continues - that is her 16th straight defeat against the world number one.

  22. Serena wins Australian Open

    Williams 6-3 7-6 (7-5) Sharapova

    Serena Williams is a picture of unbridled joy, jumping up and down on Rod Laver Arena like an excited Australian kangaroo. A broad grin breaks out across the American's face as she goes to the net...

  23. Game, set and match - Williams

    Williams 6-3 7-6 (7-5) Sharapova

    Serena Williams celebrates

    Serena reloads after that disappointment of the let. And guess what? She thunders down an ace to win.

    Serena Williams win her sixth Australian Open title!

  24. Tie-break

    Williams 6-3 6-6 (6-5) Sharapova

    Serena Williams reaction

    Championship point number three for Serena though - on her serve. She thinks she's got it with an ace. But the umpire calls let. Serena cannot believe it...

  25. Tie-break

    Williams 6-3 6-6 (6-5) Sharapova

    Sharapova saves herself with a brilliant deep second serve. Serena returns it but Sharapova thunders a forehand into the corner. Championship point number two saved.

  26. Tie-break

    Williams 6-3 6-6 (6-4) Sharapova

    Marina Sharapova

    How important could that break be for Sharapova? It won't be if she doesn't hold. And she doesn't. Championship point....

  27. Tie-break

    Williams 6-3 6-6 (5-4) Sharapova

    Sharapova screams 'come on' as she wins a point off Williams's serve as the American goes wide again with a forehand. Back on serve.

  28. Tie-break

    Williams 6-3 6-6 (5-3) Sharapova

    Chance for Serena to see daylight once again. The American serves, a rally ending in Sharapova finding the net with a forehand return.

  29. Tie-break

    Williams 6-3 6-6 (4-3) Sharapova

    Sharapova looked in trouble. Her first serve hits the net, but she wins a point off the second serve. Williams goes for a cross-court winner, but gets too much on it and it goes wide.

  30. Tie-break

    Williams 6-3 6-6 (4-2) Sharapova

    Sharapova looks to the floor as Williams closes in. She must hold. First serve - into the net. Second serve - it's good. Williams returns cross court, leaving Sharapova stretching. The ball flies over the net, but Serena can't respond as she finds the tape.

  31. Tie-break

    Williams 6-3 6-6 (4-1) Sharapova

    Williams's first serve goes into the net, but a deep forehand after the second, sees Sharapova send the ball low into the net.

  32. Tie-break

    Williams 6-3 6-6 (3-1) Sharapova

    Typical response from Williams after losing the first break. Another thumping ace from the American - her 17th of the match.

  33. Tie-break

    Williams 6-3 6-6 (2-1) Sharapova

    Sharapova serves, but a stunning return from the American takes her 2-1 ahead.

  34. Tie-break

    Williams 6-3 6-6 (1-1) Sharapova

    Sharapova to serve but Serena breaks back. Williams returns a serve with aplomb, Sharapova hitting the tape.

  35. Tie break

    Williams 6-3 6-6 (0-1) Sharapova

    A crunching forehand winner down the line from Sharapova from Williams's serve out wide.

  36. Tie-break

    *Williams 6-3 6-6 Sharapova

    Sharapova does indeed stay in the match. The Russian holds to love - tie-break time.

  37. Post update

    Williams 6-3 6-5 Sharapova*

    Serena might have the greatest serve going, but now it is Sharapova's turn to dazzle with ball in hand. She's serving to stay in the match for the second time...

  38. Post update

    John Lloyd

    1977 Australian Open runner-up on BBC Two

    "You talk about great shots in women's tennis, but Serena Williams's serve is by far the greatest we have seen. It's so much better than anyone else's we have ever seen."

  39. Post update

    Williams 6-3 6-5 Sharapova*

    Maria Sharapova

    And that vital hold for the Russian means we have at least two more games in this match. But I suspect the Melbourne crowd are hoping it will go a little longer than that. So too will Sharapova.

    She gives herself a chance, plucking out a wonderful backhand at the baseline to force deuce. But Williams, as she has done so many times, produces a wonderful second serve to force Sharapova into an error, then hammers down an ace.

  40. Get involved

    #bbctennis

    Petra: Hats off to Maria Sharapova. She's doing everything she can. What a fighter.

    Dan Church: Can't take my eyes of this Women's Australian Open final between Williams and Sharapova. The display on show is outstanding.

  41. Sharapova saves match point

    *Williams 6-3 5-5 Sharapova

    Serena moves one point closer to title with a crunching forehand winner. A loose return lets Sharapova back in, with the Russian digging out a forehand winner of her own to nudge ahead.

    Oh no! The Russian double faults for 30-30 before a rally ends in a crosscourt return from Sharapova just lands inside the tramlines.

    Match point to Williams. Saved! Sharapova produces another gutsy return which has even Williams clapping in appreciation. Sharapova, adrenalin pumping through her veins, has the bit between her teeth now, serving out deuce to hang on. Phew!

  42. Get involved

    Virginboyay: High quality in all departments from both players in the second set.

    Matt Kent: This is one of the best games of tennis that I have ever seen. Simply unreal.

  43. Post update

    Williams 6-3 5-4 Sharapova*

    Of course, Sharapova might not be given the chance to break Serena's serve again. A break here for Williams and a 19th Grand Slam title is all hers...

  44. Post update

    John Lloyd

    1977 Australian Open runner-up on BBC Two

    Serena Williams celebrates

    "In terms of quality, this is as good from both players that we've ever seen. What a performance from both players. The quality of tennis is outstanding."

  45. Post update

    Williams 6-3 5-4 Sharapova*

    Here's a great stat for you - Maria Sharapova has never won a Slam in an odd year. If she is going to end that here in Melbourne she needs a break soon. But it doesn't happen here, Serena's serve too powerful as she holds to love.

  46. Post update

    *Williams 6-3 4-4 Sharapova

    Maria Sharapova

    Sharapova has been hanging on by her fingertips at times during this second set, but enjoys some respite in this eighth game. She races into a 40-0 advantage, then has a lapse of concentration to double fault. But if you're going to double fault you want to do it with a 40-0 lead in your back pocket. Anyway, normal service is resumed as the Russian spanks down an ace to hold.

  47. Post update

    Two-time men's Australian Open winner Pat Cash on Twitter: Laughed how when Serena gets a hindrance point deduction for saying 'come on' when Sharapova's grunt is considerably louder and longer.

  48. Post update

    Andrew Castle

    BBC tennis commentator on BBC Two

    "The crowd are appreciating the sheer quality of the number one in the world versus the number two. This is the first time the best two female players in the world have played each other at the Australian Open since 2004."

  49. Post update

    Williams 6-3 4-3 Sharapova*

    "Oooh" murmurs the Melbourne crowd as Sharapova works hard to go 30-0 ahead.

    But then she barely touches the ball as Williams ups a gear to take the next three. A wide serve out right leaves Sharapova floundering, before a pair of aces puts Williams a point away from a vital hold.

    Sharapova wrestles back the point as we go to deuce. Advantage point for Serena, who thumps down an ace to win. Or does she? No! The American shouts 'Come on!' almost as soon as the ball leaves her hand as she thinks she has won the point but Sharapova returns and British umpire Alison Hughes calls hindrance, which hands the point back to the Russian.

    Serena doesn't argue though and after Sharapova misses a forehand opportunity at break point, wins it all over again and let's out a more serene "come on". Wow.

  50. Get involved

    Emily: Maria is giving it her all in this set to hold her serve each time. But Serena is coming back even stronger at her each time.

    Karen Lynch: If Sharapova stopped screaming and channelled that energy into her game, she'd be a much better player.

    Stuart Pilkington: Imagine only the top 10 of men's tennis would be able to beat Serena on a day-to day basis.

  51. Post update

    *Williams 6-3 3-3 Sharapova

    Sharapova looks comfortable as she serves into a 30-0 lead. But then suddenly it gets a little uncomfortable for the Russian.

    Williams plants a big backhand down the line, pushing the pendulum back in her favour, before a Sharapova error and another backhand winner puts the American on the verge of her first break in the second set.

    But Sharapova - a player never short of fight - battles back again and takes the game after deuce.

  52. Post update

    Two-time men's Australian Open winner Pat Cash on Twitter: Sharapova doing well to stay in touch in second set, great competitor.

  53. Post update

    Williams 6-3 3-2 Sharapova*

    Sharapova has sight of a break as she leads 30-0, but Serena smashes down two aces to take control again.

    Sharapova challenges one of them to no avail, then another booming Williams serve clinches the game.

    This is turning into a shouting contest as well as a tennis contest. "Fight!" screams Serena as another ace wraps up the hold. She is in the mood.

  54. Post update

    John Lloyd

    1977 Australian Open runner-up on BBC Two

    Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova during the change of ends

    "Maria Sharapova is doing her job and hanging in there in the second set, unlike the first where she lost the break in the first game. But she is having to play some great tennis to just stay alive.

    "She will keep thinking Serena Williams's game will drop, but Sharapova will not give up, that's for sure."

  55. Post update

    *Williams 6-3 2-2 Sharapova

    Maria Sharapova

    Oh no. Big error from Sharapova, who thinks a Williams return at 15-0 is too long. It's not you know. Sharapova challenges, but the review system clearly shows the ball dusting the whitewash.

    That hands the momentum back to Williams, who goes 30-15 ahead after a unforced error from the Russian. But she composes herself, winning the next three points to hold Williams at bay.

    Sharapova whoops in delight - probably in relief that the earlier error did not cost her.

  56. Get involved

    #bbctennis

    Mikaela Daniels: Serena Williams is a machine. That's all there is to it. She'd give the men a run for their money.

  57. Post update

    Williams 6-3 2-1 Sharapova*

    But there is no way through the Williams serve for Sharapova. Routine stuff for the American, who holds within what seems like a few seconds. Quick.

  58. Post update

    *Williams 6-3 1-1 Sharapova

    Serena Williams is making the Maria Sharapova serve look like it is in slo-mo. The 18-time Slam winner is attacking at every opportunity, forcing her opponent into a forehand error before going 30-0 ahead with another winner.

    But wait! Sharapova stops the rot with her first winning point in 10, and then rediscovers her first serve to battle back. Deuce. The Russian blasts down an ace and then wraps up a gritty hold.

  59. Post update

    John Lloyd

    1977 Australian Open runner-up on BBC Two

    Maria Sharapova

    "Maria Sharapova had to win that game to stop the momentum that was going against her. Finally she has had some joy with her first serve."

  60. First set statistics

    First set statistics
  61. Post update

    Williams 6-3 1-0 Sharapova*

    Serena, struggling with a cold and barking cough, knows she must win quick. And the big-serving American certainly means business. Two aces whizz past Sharapova in the blink of an eye, before Williams wraps up a comfortable hold with another booming forehand pass.

  62. Game and first set - Williams

    Williams 6-3 Sharapova

    Serena Williams celebrates

    As you were. That break in the previous game jolts Williams back into life, and she jumps on to the Sharapova serve to win three set points.

    She needs just the one with a backhand winner. "Come on!!!!" screams the 33-year-old. I think she enjoyed that.

  63. Get involved

    #bbctennis

    Hannah Shepherd: Really hope to see Sharapova holding the trophy after this game. She can break that record.

    Travis: Sharapova should throw in a deep slice every now and then as well as a drop shot, would put Serena off balance.

    MariaThierryHenry: Serena Williams doesn't look too well at all. I just hope she finishes this match.

    Kristine Kirby: If I was Serena's cold, I'd be scared of her, never mind Maria. She has that look on today, and the precision play is sublime.

  64. Sharapova breaks

    Williams 5-3 Sharapova*

    Ooooh, a glimmer of hope for Sharapova. Williams double faults on the first point, which sets the tone for the next couple. A loose forehand is followed by poor footwork as a backhand goes wide.

    Three break points for Sharapova. A booming Serena ace wipes out the first, then the American claws back another. But another double faults hands over the break.

  65. Post update

    *Williams 5-2 Sharapova

    And remarkable resistance means Serena Williams now serves for the first set...

  66. Williams breaks

    *Williams 5-2 Sharapova

    Serena Williams looks upward

    This is remarkable. Serena looks to the heavens after the last game, blowing her cheeks out hard. But then she wins the first two points to move 30-0 ahead. Sharapova double faults to hand over three break points and Serena takes the first as a forehand from the Russian goes long.

    That is six straight points for Serena since she looked as though she was going to throw up...

  67. Post update

    Williams 4-2 Sharapova*

    Did we say Serena Williams appears to be struggling with illness? Not judging by her tennis. After that enforced break, she hammers down an ace to move 40-30 ahead, before wrapping up the game with another powerful backhand for the winner. Sharapova was the one who barely moved.

  68. Post update

    *Williams 3-2 Sharapova

    Here she is! Thankfully Serena does return again and she is about to serve as the match resumes at 30-30....

  69. Post update

    *Williams 3-2 Sharapova

    Serena Williams

    Serena Williams returns from the locker room, white towel draped over her shoulders, barking out a cough like a South Yorkshire coalminer after a gruelling shift down t'pit. The American looks peaky. She decides to dash back into the locker room, hopefully she will reappear again...

  70. Post update

    Piers Newbery

    BBC Sport at Melbourne Park

    "We had a brief period of drizzle earlier, scaring the locals who rarely see water falling from the sky in January and catching out foolish foreign visitors who insist on wearing shorts every day.

    "The roof is being whipped across and Williams has legged it, now stalking the corridors with a towel around her shoulders and continuing to look less than happy.

    "Sharapova remains steadfastly in her chair as all around her towel the court. "It's about the most annoying rain you can get," says the court announcer, who has clearly not spent much time in Salford.

  71. RAIN STOPS PLAY

    *Williams 3-2 Sharapova

    Williams decides to head back to the locker room, while Sharapova sits patiently in her seat for the dark clouds to disappear. Several of the towel-holding youngsters are perched around the Russian's feet, mopping up the water.

    BBC Tennis

    "Anyone under 18 should be made to do this physical work!" jokes BBC commentator Andrew Castle.

  72. Post update

    John Lloyd

    1977 Australian Open runner-up on BBC Two

    "It's great when you have the roof but it is an outdoor tournament and if you can, you're supposed to play in outdoor conditions. Rain was predicted so it was a gamble and it has backfired a bit. But we should start the match as an open-air tournament."

  73. RAIN STOPS PLAY

    *Williams 3-2 Sharapova

    Ground staff drying the court

    Both players saunter off court, back to their seats, as someone somewhere inside the Rod Laver Arena presses the 'close roof' button.

    The stadium announcer says the match will restart once the roof is fully shut - probably in a few minutes' time. In the meantime, an army of ball-boys and ball-girls, each equipped with a towel, furiously wipe water off the court. Technology? Pah.

  74. RAIN STOPS PLAY

    *Williams 3-2 Sharapova

    Sharapova goes 30-15 ahead with a raking forehand winner that she somehow digs out from the back of the baseline. The Russian follows that point with a steely glare across the net at her rival.

    Williams levels at 30-30 before the umpire clambers off her stool. Why? The heavens have opened. Play suspended.

  75. Post update

    Andrew Castle

    BBC tennis commentator on BBC Two

    "There are 15,000 people in the Rod Laver Arena and they want to see a match. For that to happen we know that Maria Sharapova has to play superbly.

    "But she has already saved match points in this tournament and that's a big deal, as it gives you a sense of invincibility."

  76. Post update

    *Williams 3-2 Sharapova

    The Russian moves within sight of the game at 40-15, before bringing out another drop shot which has Williams scampering forward to meet. She does that, Sharapova goes for the lob, which is agonisingly out of Serena's reach. Another Sharapova hold - now can she gets the break back?

  77. Get involved

    #bbctennis

    Joel Newnham: With so many different names in slam finals in recent years so good to see a rivalry again, women's tennis needs this.

    Andrew Lavoipierre: Sharapova must vary her game she cannot win by trying to trade blows and out hit Serena.

    Peter Siegert: It's hard not to feel sorry for Maria Sharapova and we're only four games into the first set.

  78. Post update

    Williams 3-1 Sharapova*

    Serena Williams

    A long rally ends when a rare dropshot from Sharapova leaves Williams stretching and skidding towards the net - which she then finds with a volley.

    But Serena fights back with a wonderful second serve and a thunderous ace to move 30-15 ahead. The American doesn't look 100% though - coughing and spluttering, breathing heavily, and shaking her head after each point.

    Williams goes out wide with a another unreachable serve and then blasts down another, which Sharapova does not have the strength to put back over the net.

  79. Post update

    Andrew Castle

    BBC tennis commentator on BBC Two

    "This is wonderful stuff from Serena Williams. It is as clean hitting as you will ever see. She is totally fired up."

  80. Post update

    *Williams 2-1 Sharapova

    "Must hold serve. Must hold serve." That is the message I'd imagine is running through Sharapova's mind. And the Russian does exactly that. Serena returns serve after serve, but Sharapova matches her stroke for stroke, sending down a fierce cross-court forehand winner for the game. Relief.

  81. Post update

    Williams 2-0 Sharapova*

    Serena Williams serves

    The Serena serve is arguably the greatest that the women's game has ever seen - and it seems to be firing on all cylinders. However, Sharapova is coping reasonably well smashing back the returns. Serena's power eventually tells as the pair contest rally after rally, and the American sees out the hold.

  82. Get involved

    #bbctennis

    Emma Ashley: Fire lit, tea in hand, Australian Open on the BBC, Saturday mornings can't get much better than this. #Armchairtennis

    Mori Baba Jnr: History aside and no offence to Maria but if Serena plays well and serves the way we know, then this final will not even be a contest.

    Vimal Ramjewan: Sharapova needs to have a very good first serve and needs to come up to the net more often.

  83. Post update

    John Lloyd

    1977 Australian Open runner-up on BBC Two

    Maria Sharapova

    "I was worried that Maria Sharapova would have a bad start, and that's exactly what has happened. She is already playing catch-up."

    Watch live coverage by pressing the play button at the top of this page.

  84. Williams breaks

    *Williams 1-0 Sharapova

    Nervous start from Sharapova on her serve, as Williams goes 30-0 ahead. That's the whiff of an early break opportunity drifting under Williams' nostrils. However, two wayward returns help Sharapova rattle off three points and move within one of a hold.

    Williams isn't finished though, digging out a deadly dipping forehand winner from the baseline. The pair trade advantages then a bad miss from Sharapova, when a seemingly-comfortable forehand drifts wide of the tramline, puts Serena on the verge of the break.

    And Williams gets it! The Russian meekly finds the net and it is an early advantage for Williams...

  85. Post update

    Williams 0-0 Sharapova*

    Sharapova won the toss meaning she has the pleasure of serving first...

  86. Post update

    The umpire calls time, the players take their seats for the final time. Serena - who has been battling a cold - digs around in her bag for a tissue and gives her nose a hard blow. Ready to roll...

  87. Post update

    John Lloyd

    1977 Australian Open runner-up on BBC Two

    Williams and Sharapova pose for a photograph

    "It will be crushing for Maria Sharapova knowing that someone has beaten her 15 times in a row. The only thing you worry about is that she will be trying too hard and the biggest thing for her is her serve.

    "She has to be at her best if she is going to win. I'm not sure if Maria has a plan B if things go wrong, but I do have a feeling she will be able to turn it around today."

  88. Serena eyes Slam record

    Martina Navratilova

    Victory will see Serena move into outright second in the list of Grand Slam titles in the Open Era. It would be the 33-year-old's 19th success, separating herself from Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova, who brought out the Daphne Akhurst trophy earlier.

    Of course, Germany's Steffi Graf leads the way with 22 Slams.

  89. Get involved

    #bbctennis

    Ayo Obit: The only way Maria can win is if she plays a completely different game from her normal game, or if Serena's illness comes into play. If Sharapova plays her game and Serena plays her game then we will get the same result we have got for the last 10 years.

    Gambeano Snitch: People always love an underdog story. That's why they're backing Sharapova, however Serena will prove the doubters wrong.

  90. Post update

    Little love is lost between Sharapova and Williams, who have not - shall we say - always seen eye to eye over the years. No hint of a smile from either player as they contest the coin toss and pose for the cameras. No eye contact either.

    Luckily the little mascot stood in between the great rivals has a beautiful, beaming smile which is big enough for all three of them.

  91. Post update

    Russell Fuller

    BBC tennis correspondent on Radio 5 live sports extra

    "We're privileged to have the best two players in the final. Both have played very well here in Melbourne - apart from the odd wobble. Not only do we have the top two seeds in the final, we also have the two most high-profile sportswomen on the planet."

  92. One versus two

    As you already know, we are about to watch the tantalising prospect of the world number one (Williams) take on the world number two (Sharapova).

    Remarkably, the last time the top two players in the world met in the Australian Open final was all the way back in 2004, when top-ranked Justine Henin beat nearest rival Kim Clijsters.

  93. Post update

    Maria Sharapova, decked out in a pale red tracksuit top and matching cap, appears first in the bowels of the Rod Laver Arena. She is stony-faced, a picture of concentration.

    The Russian is quickly followed out of the tunnel by Serena Williams, who shows a similar lack of emotion. That's what you call a game face.

  94. Post update

    Piers Newbery

    BBC Sport at Melbourne Park

    "It's a chilly 18C and has been blowing a gale all day, although reports are that down on court level in Rod Laver Arena it's not quite so bad. Rumours have been circulating Melbourne Park that Williams's nagging cough and cold is actually worse than she has been letting on, but she was out hitting earlier with no major signs of discomfort.

    "The general vibe is that Williams will beat Sharapova - she always beats Sharapova - but it's been the kind of tournament where the unexpected happens."

  95. Post update

    Serena Williams

    Sharapova might just have seen a glimmer of hope ahead of today's match. And that is because Williams has been struggling with a heavy cold and cough for several days.

    If that wasn't enough to boost the Russian, pictures also surfaced on Friday of the American receiving treatment on her left ankle before cutting short a practice session.

    But Williams says: "I'm doing much better and feeling better every day - at least I'm able to run now."

  96. The story so far

    Serena Williams

    Serena Williams
  97. The story so far

    Maria Sharapova

    Maria Sharapova
  98. 'Serena is not troubled by Sharapova's game'

    Lindsay Davenport, who won the Australian Open in 2000, expects her fellow American Serena Williams to win a 19th Grand Slam title.

    "On paper it should be a great match, but historically and for whatever reason, she is not troubled by Maria Sharapova's game," Davenport tells BBC Radio 5 live sports extra.

    "It will be interesting to see if Sharapova does something different, but Serena has looked so good, very strong and her serve is back to being the weapon we know it can be.

    "I will be very surprised if Sharapova can come through this match. If Serena is at 80% or above then I've not seen anyone able to beat her - she is so powerful."

  99. 15-minute warning

    BBC tennis

    The Rod Laver Arena has started to fill up nicely since this picture was taken a short while ago. The Australian national anthem is blasting out as we speak, moments after Martina Navratilova brings out the trophy that either Sharapova or Williams will lift later.

    The players are expected to emerge from the locker room shortly, so consider this your 15-minute warning before we kick off. Enough time to grab a quick cup of tea.

  100. Hope for Sharapova?

    Maria Sharapova might not have beaten Serena Williams in 15 attempts, but the Russian does not have to look far for inspiration as she attempts to turn that tide of defeat.

    That's because the Australian Open has witnessed the reversal of some long-suffering fortunes - well, in the men's singles anyway.

    Tomas Berdych ended a 17-match losing streak against Rafael Nadal in the quarter-finals, while Andreas Seppi won his first match against Roger Federer at the 11th attempt.

  101. Get involved

    #bbctennis

    Mashidur Miah: Sharapova is going to do an Arsenal today and beat Serena. The nearly moment will come to an end today!

  102. Post update

    Sharapova v Williams
  103. Post update

    Maria Sharapova's record against Serena Williams makes miserable reading for the Russian. But not the American, whose 16-2 advantage looks more like an England cricket team's scorecard.

    "It's been a really difficult match-up for me, but I am a competitor," says second seed Sharapova.

    "I will go out and I will do everything I can to try to change that result around."

  104. Post update

    John Lloyd

    1977 Australian Open runner-up

    "I'm probably going to look stupid here - but I'm going for an upset. I'm going for a Sharapova win.

    "I know the record is ridiculous, but I have a feeling this is Sharapova's time.

    "Serena has been good at times, she played pretty well last in the last match but has been shaky. Sharapova has looked awesome in the last couple of matches.

    "If there is one person who could get rid of a losing streak is her. Mentally she is one of the toughest women I have seen on the circuit ever."

  105. Post update

    Australian Open

    Most people have a nemesis - sporting or otherwise - and the scourge of Maria Sharapova's life on the tennis court has been Serena Williams.

    Since that famous victory in SW19, the Russian has only managed one more victory. In 15 more attempts. And that came a few months later in 2004 at the Tour Championships in Los Angeles.

    Since then, she has been thrashed and embarrassed by her great rival - on more than one occasion. Is today finally the day where she executes her revenge?

  106. Post update

    Ah, 2004. The year of the sporting underdog.

    Greece's male footballers produced a series of workman-like performances to grind out a remarkable European Championships success.

    Greece

    British heavyweight slugger Danny Williams shocked the boxing world - and many outside of it - by knocking out 'Iron' Mike Tyson.

    Danny Williams

    And little-known Russian teenager Maria Sharapova stunned top seed Serena Williams to win Wimbledon.

    Maria Sharapova

    Only one problem. Sharapova hasn't beaten the American since that very same year...