Twenty-three-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams recovered from losing the second set to beat current world No.1 Simona Halep in a blockbuster fourth-round clash at the Australian Open, 6-1 4-6 6-4.
The 16th-seeded Williams had her serve broken at the very start of the match, but from that moment on the American absolutely dominated the set, winning it in just 20 minutes.
Williams looked to be continuing the momentum as she earned a break to lead 2-1 in the second set, but Halep broke back right away and held at love with perfect serves to lead 3-2. Overall, the tone of the second set was that Halep became more aggressive and made the rallies longer, while Williams became more prone to errors and in the tenth game Williams dropped serve, sending a backhand long to hand the set to the Romanian.
The tense decider went with serve until 3-3, when Williams took charge to lead 5-3 and then earned her first match point with a backhand winner. Williams capitalized on that first match point, when Halep sent a forehand wide, improving her head-to-head record against the No.1 to 9-1.
Williams’ quarterfinal opponent will be seventh seed Karolina Pliskova, the 2019 Brisbane International champion, who is still undefeated this season. The Czech hit just three unforced errors along with 23 winners in her fourth-round victory over Garbine Muguruza.