Germany's Angelique Kerber defied the odds to stun Serena Williams in Saturday night's Australian Open final, using superior consistency and strong defense to defeat the world's top-ranked player 6-4, 3-6, 6-3.

The seventh-seeded Kerber, who saved a match point in her opening contest in Melbourne, a first-round 6-7 (4-7), 7-6 (8-6), 6-3 victory over Japan's Misaki Doi, rose to the occasion in the championship match and capped off the victory by winning a dramatic third set that lasted nearly an hour.

The German showed impressive poise and self-confidence in winning the first set in 39 minutes, but Williams used her power to storm back and send the match to a decider.

Kerber then played nearly error-free tennis in the third set to get the momentum back in her favor, breaking serve to win the match after Williams had nearly rallied from a 5-2 deficit.

Williams struck 47 winners but hurt her cause with 46 unforced errors, while Kerber finished the match with a nearly two-to-one winner-error ratio (25-13)

"It's been the best two weeks of my life, and you are the best fans in the world," the elated first-time Grand Slam champion said during the trophy presentation. EFE