Serena Williams overcomes pre-match mishap to reach Australian Open quarter-finals

Tsitsipas This is not a changing of the guard... I need to stay humble

Tsitsipas This is not a changing of the guard... I need to stay humble

Serena Williams has beat world's number 1 Simona Halep to reach the quarter-finals of the 2019 Australian Open.

Svitolina was a quarter-finalist at Melbourne Park previous year and has set her sights high after her breakthrough in Singapore, targeting a Grand Slam win and world number one.

For all her impressive achievements since returning from maternity leave, Williams had only beaten one top-10 player and had looked nervous particularly in her two grand slam finals against Angelique Kerber and Naomi Osaka.

Williams prevailed 6-1 4-6 6-4 in a pulsating battle on Rod Laver Arena, keeping alive her hopes of winning the tournament for a third time in four years.

"It was a really intense match, and it was some incredible points, " said Williams, who improved to 9-1 against Halep. I haven't played the world No. 1 since I've been back, I don't think.

"I really needed to elevate my game [after the second set]".

Triumphantly punching the air with both arms as she gave a steely stare towards her box, Williams showed how much relief she felt at beating the world number one. I just needed to show the way I can play, and hopefully that was the difference. I just go home, I will rest, and I will watch tennis. I don't know, it's definitely something that's innate.

"But I feel better, and once I step on a court, I'm not that nervous any more".

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But she made amends in the next game and saw off two break points from Zidansek before bringing up two match points on serve. Hsieh Su-wei advanced 6-3, 6-4 over Laura Siegemund, who had beaten two-time champion Victoria Azarenka in the first round.

Williams exploded out of the blocks managing to break Halep's serve on multiple occasions as she blitzed through the first se in just 20 minutes.

There was a minor wobble when Williams allowed Halep to bring up three break points in the opening game, conceding with a double fault. With her supreme endurance and retrieving skills, she started to make a match out of it, staying in the point, returning with interest and forcing Serena to make errors.

In the fourth game of the second set, and already trailing by a break, the Romanian played a pivotal game.

"The pressure here is a little bit bigger", she said.

"I'm feeling great. I always feel good energy here", the 2016 US Open finalist said.

"I wasn't really sure what to do at a point".

"I'm like, 'Olympia, there's a plethora of movies to choose from,"' Williams said. "And also I was watching all these kids winning, like, last night Tsitsipas beat Federer and I was like, "Woah" - so I decided I wanted to do well, too". I don't know. She's, like, so close to being there with my daughter, so we talk all the time, spend a ton of time together. She literally lifted her game to a new level. The Ukrainian won their other three matches, two as a front-runner.

Osaka broke serve to open the third set to maintain the momentum.

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