Serena Williams amazed the tennis world when she upset top seed Maria Sharapova in a one-sided final to win her third Australian Open and eighth Grand Slam title, just days before the end of the Laureus qualifying year. The victory marks a remarkable comeback for Williams who slipped out of the top 100 in the world rankings last year and missed both the French Open and Wimbledon after a serious knee injury. The unseeded American's speed and power overwhelmed Sharapova 6-1, 6-2 in little more than an hour.
Williams’ injury problems forced her to take a break during the final quarter of 2005 and although she returned for the 2006 Australian Open she went out in the third round. After withdrawing from the Charleston, South Carolina, Family Circle Cup in the spring, Williams fell out of the top 100 players in the world for the first time in almost a decade. Shortly after, on May 3, she announced that she would miss both the French Open and Wimbledon as a result of her chronic knee injury.
Williams made a return to tennis earlier than expected in late July, accepting wild cards into events in Cincinnati and Los Angeles and she was granted a wild card into the US Open, but went out in the fourth round.
She began the year saying she could be No.1 again, but few could have predicted the events in Melbourne. The unseeded Williams defeated fifth seed Nadia Petrova in the third round, 11th seed Jelena Jankovic in the fourth, 16th seed Shahar Peer in the quarter-finals and 10th seed Nicole Vaidisova in the semi-finals, before her moment of glory against Sharapova.