Thank you for following along here on VAVEL. The recap of the match will be up shortly. This is Thomas Cluck saying so long!
Some touching words from both Venus and Serena, showing just how much their bond as sisters means, transcending sport.
A historic achievement crowned, as Serena Williams hoists an incredible seventh Australian Open title and Serena's first Melbourne championship without the loss of a set, a truly dominant run to history.
Venus receives her runner-up trophy to the roar of an incredible Melbourne crowd, her second finals appearance down under.
The trophy ceremony will get underway momentarily here from Melbourne.
Serena will also re-claim the number one ranking from 2016 Australian Open champion Angelique Kerber.
With this seventh championship in Melbourne, Serena breaks Steffi Graff's record for most open-era Grand Slam titles at 23 and moves within one more of tying Margaret Court for most all-time.
Serena holds on, refuses to be broken and claims a seventh Australian Open title and a historic 23rd Grand Slam title.
Game, Set, Match Serena Williams 6-4, 6-1.
40-30: Venus nets a forehand, brining up championship point for Serena Williams.
30-30: Venus nets a backhand midway through a rally.
15-30: Venus hangs in the point, draws a costly backhand error from Serena.
15-15: Venus misses the return into the net.
0-15: Venus comes in off a short serve, cracks a backhand winner.
Venus responds to hold to stay in the match, forcing Serena to serve for a 23rd Grand Slam title at 5-4.
40-15: Venus pounds an ace out wide.
15-15: Serena's ball hops over the net, Venus can't get there.
15-0: Venus hits an overhead for a winner.
Serena holds for 5-3 off some stunning serving.
40-0: Venus misses another return off a powerful serve from Serena.
30-0: Another big serve from Serena for an ace down the middle.
15-0: Serena cracks the serve, Venus misses the return.
Serena connects on the second serve return, fires the backhand return cross-court to break and go up 4-3, two games from a historic seventh Australian Open title.
40-Ad: Venus struggles on the low forehand, misses into the net.
40-40: Serena misses a backhand wide.
40-Ad: Serena nails a forehand winner cross-court.
40-40: Venus hits a big serve, Serena misses the return into the net.
30-40: Serena hangs in the rally, draws the error from Venus on the forehand.
30-30: Venus cracks an ace down the middle.
15-30: Serena hits a return winner.
15-15: Serena misses a forehand long.
0-15: Serena comes in and smacks a forehand winner.
Serena holds for 3-all as some errors begin to creep into Venus' game.
40-15: Venus' backhand flies long.
30-15: Serena smashes an overhead winner.
15-15: Serena tracks down a drop volley from Venus into the net.
15-0: Serena pounds a serve, return into the net from Venus.
Venus holds for 3-2 off some big serving to stay in contention here in this final.
40-15: Serena nets a return off a tough serve from Venus.
30-15: Serena floats a backhand return long.
15-15: Venus misses an easy forehand approach into the net.
15-0: Venus cracks a powerful forehand winner.
Serena holds off some costly errors from Venus, a definite missed opportunity for the elder Williams. Serena levels at 2-all.
40-30: Serena double faults.
40-15: Venus swats another return into the net.
30-15: Venus nets a soft, second serve return.
15-all: Serena cracks an ace down the middle.
0-15: Serena sails a backhand long.
We join the match in the second set with Venus Williams leading 6-4, 2-1, narrowly holding to stay on serve in the second.
After some technical difficulties on our part, we are back with the second set of this historic Grand Slam final.
My prediction for the match is going to be Serena in three sets.
Here's the match preview and analysis by Tevon King.
If Serena wins: She passes Steffi Graf for most major titles in the Open Era with 23 and moves one behind Margaret Court for most all-time. She also clinches world number one once again with a win plus a seventh title in Melbourne which would move her to second most all-time and would level the Australian Open and Wimbledon with seven titles each.
If Venus wins: She moves to number eight in the world and captures her first-ever Australian Open title which would make the Career Grand Slam in play for her at the French Open. A win also makes her the oldest Grand Slam winner ever, dethroning her younger sister for that title.
Serena leads their current head-to-head 16-11 over older sister Venus. Their last Grand Slam meeting saw the younger Williams win in three during the US Open quarterfinal in 2015 when Serena was going for the Calendar Slam. Venus' last win came at the Rogers Cup back in 2014. Serena's last Grand Slam final win over her big sister came during the 2009 Wimbledon Final, while Venus' last win over Serena in a major final came during the 2008 Wimbledon Final. They have had two career Australian Open meetings. Venus won their first-ever meeting in straights during the second round of the 1998 Australian Open. Serena won the final in 2003, competing her first Serena Slam , having beaten her older sister in all four finals.
Vandeweghe was the lone player in her 20s to make the semifinal. Her power game overwhelmed opponents such as Angelique Kerber, Roberta Vinci, Garbiñe Muguruza and more. Her firepower was on full display to take the opening set. Nerves may have gotten to the younger American though, clearly showing shaky displays in the final two sets. It was a thrilling encounter, and Venus was the one who survived to book her spot in the finals.
Hard-hitting Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova was raring for a showdown with Venus in the quarterfinals. She was ahead in the first set before a ball being caught by a ball kid set the rails loose for Venus to steal the first set. The second set provided much more quirkiness with trades of breaks often at times before the set went into a tiebreak. The seven-time Grand Slam champion showed her experience to take the match in straights to book a showdown with fellow American Coco Vandeweghe in the final.
Mona Barthel was her fourth round opponent and the qualifier had come in winning over a handful of matches. The German provided different looks for Williams, testing her from time to time in the match. Still though, it was Venus who survived yet another test to get to the quarterfinals.
Round two for the seven-time major champion was much simpler. She met qualifier Stefanie Voegele and took it in straight sets as well in much smoother fashion. The road to the second week continued its simplicity for Venus. Ying-Ying Duan was coming off a three-set marathon where she had won 10-8 in the final set. The now two-time Australian Open finalist only dropped one game in a rout of the Chinese.
For Venus, the road to the final was much smoother in terms of her opponents. Despite the lower-ranked opponents, the American ran into some trouble early on against Kateryna Kozlova. She had to come from behind in each of the sets before winning in straights.
Serena came in as the overwhelming favorite going up against the Croat who had plenty of court time playing four of five matches in three sets and also playing doubles as well. The feel good story of Lucic-Baroni ended at the hands of Serena as it was one-way traffic for the American to win 6-2, 6-1.
Konta was one of the players that many thought would give Serena a run for her money. The serve and the forehand were keys for the Brit to try and stun the world number two. It was not meant to be though. Despite some shaky serving from Serena at times, she rolled over Konta to win 6-3, 6-2 to set up a semifinal showdown with Mirjana Lucic-Baroni.
Barbora Strycova is a feisty opponent for most and the same was sure to be said when she met the world number two in the fourth round. It was not easy for Serena whose serve looked shaky at times. After a tight opening set, it was another close second set. The American failed to serve out the match but broke to take it in straights to set up a massive quarterfinal showdown with Britain's Johanna Konta.
After two testing opening matches, Serena caught a break as Timea Babos was knocked out by countrywoman Nicole Gibbs in the opening round. Gibbs did well enough to get to the third round, but she was clearly overwhelmed by Serena's power.
The second round opponent for the American was no easier, facing a familiar foe in Lucie Safarova. The Czech met Serena in the 2015 French Open final, losing in three sets. It was two more tight sets for the world number two, but she was able to get out of another test.
Serena's road to the final was much more difficult than her older sister's but you can only face who is in front of you. The test began early on for the 22-time Grand Slam champion, drawing Swiss phenom Belinda Bencic in her opener. The Swiss had beaten Serena before at the Rogers Cup a few years ago. She put up a valiant effort before falling to the American in two tight sets.
This Australian Open has been an age-defying tournament for most. Barring Grigor Dimitrov and Coco Vandeweghe's spectacular runs, six of the eight semifinalists in Melbourne were 30 years old or older. For the first time ever, both Grand Slam finals have all their competitors aged 30 or older.
This all-Williams final kicks off the first of a dream weekend for most tennis fans. Not many tennis fans thought they would ever see a weekend with both the Williams sisters and Federer-Nadal in the same weekend again. Well, it's reality, it has happened. We will be seeing these four legends of the sport, all competing in the same Grand Slam final for the first time since the 2008 Wimbledon Finals.
Welcome to live coverage of the Australian Open final! My name is Thomas Cluck, and I am happy to be bringing you point-by-point coverage of the Australian Open final here on VAVEL. From now until the match begins at 3:30 am ET, news and notes will be above to get you up to speed. Be sure to return at match time for point-by-point updates!