Serena, who won her first major at the US Open in 1999, drew level with Graf's tally of 22 at Wimbledon previous year and edged ahead of the German with her 6-4, 6-4 victory over her sister Venus on Rod Laver Arena on Saturday. Serena will be playing her 29th major final and a win in Melbourne will take her past Steffi Graf's Open-era record of 22 major titles, with only Margaret Court's all-time mark of 24 still to beat.
Venus, in her first Grand Slam decider since Wimbledon 2009, now has lost eight of her past nine meetings with Serena. The sisters will compete in the final of the Australian Open in Melbourne on Saturday.
Her opponent on that day was Serena who won in three sets to claim her first Australian Open title and this weekend the pair will meet in a Grand Slam final for the ninth time, Serena triumphing on six occasions. Serena has by now well an truly dominated world tennis and her head-to-head with her sister. "I just feel like no matter what happens, we've won ... a Williams is going to win this tournament".
"I really would like to take this moment to congratulate Venus", Serena, 35, gushed. She finally can now.
Venus was the oldest entrant in the singles draw and now the oldest to make a major final since 37-year-old Martina Navratilova reached the last hurdle at Wimbledon in 1994.
Venus was the picture of composure and poise as she spoke post-match: "I'm so happy to have been able to play this final". Venus could well have stolen victory today, or at least minimised her sister's scoring power, had the net been a fracture lower to the ground. This opponent is your sister, and she's super awesome.
"I played against a lot of players who were in form".
But contesting her 21st grand slam semi-final compared to Vandeweghe's first, Williams struck straight back as her less-experienced foe double-faulted on break point.
However Serena is generally regarded as the better player and when they clash she usually gains the victory. "No way I'd be at one without her". Both players were relatively subdued, except for Serena's racket smashing spike on the court in the third game that earned her a code violation.
The Australian Open finals won't be played until this weekend, but one thing is certain: the women's championship trophy will be engraved with "Williams".