Serena Williams
Serena Williams (L) has beaten Maria Sharapova (R) to win her sixth Australian Open title.Getty

Serena Williams beat Maria Sharapova 6-3, 7-6 to win her sixth Australian Open title and 19th Grand Slam title.

With that win, Williams has now gone ahead of Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert in the all-time Grand Slam winners list, and is now just 3 behind Steffi Graf, who has 22 major titles.

The dogged cold that has been affecting her for the past week threatened to play spoil sport, but the American willed on and served superbly to win an incredible final despite Sharapova fighting back in the second set.

Serena has now beaten the Russian in 16 matches in a row, dating back to 2004.

The match started off with the World No 1 breaking Sharapova's serve in the very first game, after the five-time Grand Slam champion made a double fault to hand the American the initiative.

With Serena leading 3-2, the rain gods tried to play spoil sport. Following a break for the roof to close and for the World No 1 to regain her composure after a bout of sickness, it was time to resume.

The 18-time Grand Slam winner swapped a couple of service breaks with Sharapova, before closing out the first set in 47 minutes.

The second set started off like the first, with the Russian looking at a one-sided match as she faced break points early in the set. But the former Wimbledon winner wouldn't give up and fought her way back into the match.

Sharapova continued to fight, but with Williams stepping up her game in the second set, with 15 aces and an incredible percentage of first service points, the challenger was facing an uphill task.

But the World No 2, was not in a mood to throw in the towel as she saved a match point while serving at 5-4 and then again during the tie-break.

Williams had a third opportunity, however, and after an apparent ace was called a let - much to her disbelief - she clinched her sixth Australian Open title with another unplayable serve.