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Serena wins Australian Open crown

Last updated on: January 31, 2009 16:24 IST

Serena Williams thrashed Russia's Dinara Safina 6-0, 6-3 on Saturday to win the Australian Open title and reclaim the world number one ranking.

The American raced to victory in just 59 minutes to capture her fourth singles title at Melbourne Park, after her previous wins in 2003, 2005 and 2007, and her 10th Grand Slam overall.

Williams, who last claimed the top ranking in September after triumphing at the US Open, will replace Serbia's Jelena Jankovic as the world number one when the new standings are released on Monday.

"Dinara is going to a have a great future. She was hitting so hard all I could do was just go for broke against her," Williams said in a courtside interview. "It was all I could do today."

Safina, playing in her second Grand Slam final, won just eight points in the first set and could do little to prevent Williams from wrapping up a lopsided victory.

"Not much to say as I didn't spend one hour on the court," Safina said.

"I'd like to congratulate Serena because I was just a ball boy on the court today.

"To all the people who supported me, sorry I made it a little bit disappointing but hopefully next year I will come back and do better."

NERVOUS START

Safina had a nervous start making three double faults in her first service game, the third of which handed Williams a 2-0 lead.

The pattern continued on Safina's second service game when the aggressive American bludgeoned winners and forced the Russian to run around the court and she broke to love.

Williams then held to love to take a 5-0 lead and broke Safina again in the sixth game on her first set point when the Russian smacked the ball into the net.

The 22-year-old Safina extracted a huge round of applause at the beginning of the second set when she managed to break Williams in the first game.

Williams, however, only seemed to get angry with herself, breaking Safina in the next game then blasting her off the court to love to take a 2-1 lead.

With the American racing towards victory, Safina at least avoided the ignominy of suffering most one-sided defeat in an Australian Open final when she held to take the score to 4-2, but she could not stop the Williams juggernaut.

Williams held with some thumping serves and booming groundstrokes to give her the chance to seal the match on Safina's serve.

Safina held her nerve to move the score to 5-3 but it was only delaying the inevitable and Williams sealed victory when the third seed's backhand dropshot drifted just wide on the first match point.

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