It was a case of 'third time, no meltdown' for Serena Williams on Saturday.

Mixed in with the glory of 19 singles championships at grand slam level, the American's career has had its fair share of controversy.

And, oddly, the biggest controversies have come in major moments.

For a brief moment, Maria Sharapova might have thought her lucky break, the moment she might actually beat Serena for the first time since 2004, had come via a hindrance call on the world number one during their Australian Open final at Melbourne Park.

Chair umpire Alison Hughes took a point off Williams, who celebrated what was to be an unreturned serve on game point at 3-3 in the second set before the ball was deemed dead.

The reaction was telling. Williams took it in her stride, and would eventually seal the championship.

In her US Open semi-final against Kim Clijsters in 2009, Williams directed an expletive-laden rant at a line judge who had foot faulted her while serving to stay in the match.

The resultant point penalty for conduct saw her exit the tournament in a rage.

Two years on, in the final at Flushing Meadows against Sam Stosur, Williams was trying to launch a comeback after losing the first set against the Australian.

Williams proceeded to loudly celebrate a supposed winner which Stosur was in the process of chasing down, resulting in the loss of the point, her composure, her momentum and the match.

Saturday's reaction to her loss of a point to hindrance was restrained - an acknowledgement that she had done wrong, and it was the mature way to handle the moment.

There was no conspiracy, no want to see her fail.

Not even Williams is bigger than the sport. And in that fleeting moment, she greeted that notion without complaint.