Serena Williams came through a rain delay and a coughing fit to show that, at 33, she still reigns supreme in women’s tennis.
The world No 1 claimed her second Grand Slam in succession and her nineteenth in all by beating Maria Sharapova 6-3 7-6 (5) in an interrupted and furiously competitive Australian Open final.
A wet and chilly night here was warmed by the feverish intensity between Williams and her nearest challenger, who could not break the American’s long running dominance over her.
Rain caused a delay at 3-2 in the first set that was added to by Williams having to receive medical attention for a coughing fit caused by the cold that has been plaguing her for most of the fortnight.
Her response was furious, coming back out and producing an astonishing display of power serving in hammering down eighteen aces, the fastest of which came at 127 mph.
After a 2014 when it looked like her powers might have been on the wane this extraordinary athlete again looks in a league of her own, because it was not Sharapova flinched from the fight.