Serena Williams stayed on course for a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam title and eighth in the Australian Open as she survived an epic three-set game against world No.1 Simona Halep to enter the quarterfinal of the 2019 Australian Open. Serena, who blazed her way to clinch the first set 6-1, stumbled in the second as she lost the set 4-6 to Halep who was determined to spoil the party. However, the American held her nerve and won a tough third set 6-4 to enter the quarterfinal for the 12th time in her career at the Australian Open. The win for Serena increased her head-to-head tally against the Romanian to 9-2 and she will be gunning for glory in the quarters.
Serena will now face Karolina Pliskova and both players will be determined to get the better of each other. In 2016, Pliskova had defeated Serena in the US Open buy in 2017, the American had her revenge when she defeated the Czech player in the same tournament. Speaking after the end of the match, Serena said she had to dig deep in order to beat Halep. “It was an intense match and there were some incredible points. But I love playing tennis. It’s cool to be back out playing on this court. I really needed to elevate my game. She’s the number one player in the world. I just never give up. It’s definitely something that’s innate. It’s a miracle I’m here and I get to do something I enjoy,” Serena said.
In the first set, after holding the first two games, Serena broke Halep’s serve twice to race through the set and win 6-1 in just 20 minutes. It seemed that a thrashing was on the cards. However, Halep put in a better performance in the next set as she held her serve and tried to build pressure on Serena’s serve. However, in the 10th game of the second set, a forehand error from the American gave the set to the Romanian and the match headed into a decider. In the sixth game, Halep was having a break point and a chance to close out the game but Serena held her serve brilliantly. In a game that lasted 10 minutes and five deuces, it was Serena who managed to hold her serve and the match remained at 3-3.
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However, in the seventh game, with Halep losing some momentum after failing to capitalise on the break point, Halep netted a tame forehand and the break of serve was all which was needed for Serena to come closer to sealing the match. The seven-time Australian Open champion sealed the deal in style to enter the last eight.