In edging past Monica Seles, Williams now trails only Australian legend 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 leader board.
Williams's dream victory, though, was Safina''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.
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 41, it was all but over. Safina eventually surrendered with a missed drop shot, handing the reigning US open champion back-to-back majors for the first time since 2003 when she completed the so-called "Serena Slam".
Already women''s sport''s highest-ever prize money winner, with $33.73 million in earnings, Williams collected another two million dollars for her latest triumph.