Serena Williams beat Simona Halep to win Australian Open title

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Serena Williams beat Simona Halep in straight sets on Sunday to win her second Australian Open title and become the first American woman to win the tournament since Billie Jean King in 1988.

Williams’s victory came on a cool and windy day with no rain and the sun visible for much of a late afternoon on the Rod Laver Arena forecourt.

The sun did shine towards the end but for the most part, no one was out for long.

“Being new and not having won a Grand Slam before, it’s a different mental block than when I first got on the court, especially the third set,” Williams said.

“But I came out here with a lot of confidence in what I was able to do and I’m very thankful that I’m able to win a Grand Slam.”

Top seed Williams beat Halep, ranked as high as No. 2 in the world, 7-5, 7-5 in the final, improving her record over the Romanian in five sets.

Williams’ victory lifted her to 13-0 in Australian Open finals, surpassing Margaret Court’s mark of 13-0, and it was the fifth consecutive major final for Williams.

“If you play the game the right way and execute your game plan, then anything can happen at a Grand Slam like this,” Williams said.

Williams beat Halep in a hard-fought semifinal on Thursday, as she got off to a good start in Melbourne and then held her own against the world’s top-ranked player.

“I had to play two very close matches, and was the one who was fortunate to tie both of them, and then win the final,” Halep said.

“It was a very tough tournament, and I would love to come back here and win it all.”

Halep, 22, said she had

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