Serena survives 3-set thriller to reach Australian Open QF, remains on track for 24th Grand Slam
The win for Williams was made sweeter by the fact Romanian Halep had beaten her sister Venus in the previous round to face both sisters in succession, albeit gaining her retribution by being pushed all the way by the 27-year-old in Melbourne. She now remains on track to clinch a record-equaling 24th major tile in Australia.
The 37-year-old displayed powerful and aggressive tennis in the opening set to break Halep three successive times to win six games in a row and take the first set inside 20 minutes.
The beginning of the second set was again dominated by the 7-time Australian Open champion, who immediately broke Halep to take a 2-1 lead.
The Romanian, who knocked out Serena’s sister Venus in the previous round, didn’t give up easily and claimed two games to revive intrigue in the match.
When the game was tied at 4-4, Williams started to commit more unforced errors with Halep brilliantly rising to the occasion breaking the American to win the second set 6-4.
The third set saw an uncompromising battle of two tennis titans with both players showing great attacking tennis at a packed Rod Laver Arena.
Both ladies confidently held their serves, aggressively exchanging powerful hits on the Melbourne court until Williams made a crucial break to take a 4-3 lead in the decider.
Halep who fiercely fought against 16th-seed American managed to cut the deficit by winning her own serve, but had nothing to offer against Williams’ killing shots, eventually losing the set 4-6.
Williams who won the 2017 Australian Open while pregnant with her daughter, resumed her professional career last year and immediately reached the finals of two Grand Slams (Wimbledon and US Open) during her first season since returning from maternity leave.