Playing her first Australian Open since her triumph in 2017, Serena Williams continued her unbeaten record as she defeated the world number one Simona Halep in a tight three-setter.


 

 

Williams blazed through the first set in just 20 minutes but had to fight tooth and nail on Rod Laver Arena to put away the valiant Halep, prevailing 6-1 4-6 6-4 to book a quarter-final clash with Czech seventh seed Karolina Pliskova.

“I really needed to elevate my game,” Williams said.

“She’s the number one player in the world and there’s a reason why … in order to stay out there I had to play a little bit like I knew I could.

“I am just a fighter, you know I just never give up. It’s definitely something that’s innate. I just work so hard for every point.”

The defeat leaves Halep at risk of losing her No.1 ranking with Japan’s Naomi Osaka among four rivals who could ascend the summit depending on their remaining results.