MELBOURNE - Serena Williams set her sights on a second career grand slam after climbing another rung on the ladder of tennis greatness with a devastating victory over Dinara Safina in last night's Australian Open final.
Williams overwhelmed Safina 6-0 6-3 in 59 minutes to regain the world No 1 ranking and become just the seventh woman in history to accrue 10 majors.
In edging past Monica Seles, Williams now trails only legendary Australian Margaret Smith Court (24), Steffi Graf (22), Helen Wills Moody (19), Martina Navratilova (18), Chris Evert (18) and her American idol Billie Jean King (12) on the all-time grand slam leaderboard.
While the 27-year-old concedes Court's benchmark tally is probably out of reach, holding all four of the sport's major trophies simultaneously, as she did in 2002-03, is not.
With the US and Australian championships now tucked away, the American needs to win a second French Open this year and then Wimbledon for a third time to achieve the rare feat.
"The Serena Slam is something I'd like to do again," Williams said after her fourth Open triumph.
"With Dinara playing, and some of the girls, it's going to be tough. But I'm in for the challenge."
Williams' dream victory over Safina proved the Russian's worst nightmare.
The 22-year-old had high hopes of atoning for her French Open final loss last year to Ana Ivanovic and joining her brother Marat, the 2005 men's champion, in winning the Open.
Had she done so, they would have been the first brother-sister combination to reach world No 1 and also the first brother-sister act to each snare a major.
But she was never in the hunt.
"I was just a ball boy on the court today," Safina said, conceding she suffered stage fright yet again, this time because the top ranking was on the line.
"It was first time for me to play not only for the grand slam, but also for No 1 spot. I never been through this situation, and she was already," Safina said.
"She was much more times in this situation. She was much more experienced than I was."
The first set was a total wipeout, over after 22 minutes with the awesome Williams not conceding one single point on serve.
Safina, on the other hand, coughed up three double-faults, including one on break point, to drop her very first serve.
The third seed was broken twice more in the fourth and sixth games and managed to win a meagre eight points for the set.
With Williams a perfect 44-0 in grand slam matches - and 34-0 at Melbourne Park - after taking the opening set, the writing was on the wall for Safina.
Despite breaking Williams in the first game of the second set with a screaming backhand return winner, Safina handed the break straight back.
Worse was to come when the overawed Russian double-faulted to drop serve yet again to fall behind 3-1 and, when Williams held for 4-1, it was all but over.
Safina eventually surrendered with a missed drop shot, effectively handing Williams her 33rd career title.
Already women's sport's highest-ever prize money winner, with $33.73 million in earnings, Williams collected another $2 million for her latest triumph.
Safina walked away with a cool $1 million for her fortnight's work.
Meanwhile, Americans Bob and Mike Bryan claimed their third Australian Open men's doubles title last night, closing in further on two longstanding records held by great Australian pairing Todd Woodbridge and Mark Woodforde.
The 2-6 7-5 6-0 victory over India's Mahesh Bhupathi and Mark Knowles from the Bahamas was the twins' seventh major title together, moving them to equal second behind only the Woodies with 11 from 1992-2000.
The Bryans have played in 14 grand slam deciders, only one less than Woodbridge and Woodforde.