Melbourne, Jan 28:

American tennis legend Serena Williams scripted history when she defeated her elder sister Venus in the Australian Open final to become the first woman to capture 23 Grand Slam singles titles in the Open era here on Saturday.

Serena prevailed 6-4, 6-4 over Venus to clinch her seventh Australian Open singles crown at Melbourne Park. With the victory, Serena moved back to being the World No.1, deposing Angelique Kerber. She now has won 23 of 29 major singles finals.

Coming into the final, Serena was tied with German icon Steffi Graf for most number (22) of Grand Slam singles titles in the Open era. Australian Margaret Court has the highest number of titles with 24 across the amateur and Open eras.

The Open era began in 1968 when the Grand Slam tournaments agreed to allow professional players to compete with amateurs. Before that only amateurs were allowed to compete in the Grand Slams.

With this win, 35-year-old Serena took a 17-11 lead in career head-to-head meetings against the 36-year-old Venus.

While Serena pocketed $3,700,000 for the win, her sister got richer by $1,850,000.

Serena now has seven Australian Open titles, making it her joint-most successful Grand Slam alongside Wimbledon. She has also won six US Open titles and four French Open trophies.

Venus, in her first Grand Slam decider since Wimbledon 2009, now has lost eight of her past nine meetings with Serena. (IANS)