US tennis legend Serena Williams, who is eyeing a record-tying 24th Grand Slam title, has reached Australian Open semifinals after cruising past second seed Simona Halep with a 6-3, 6-3 win to set up a clash with Naomi Osaka.
The 39-year-old American stuck to her signature aggressive style, putting Halep on the defensive right from the start of the game.
Both players confidently held their serve before Williams made a crucial break to take a 3-2 lead which Halep failed to reduce.
Bombarding her opponent with killer shots, 10th seed Williams was utterly dominant in the first set.
The Romanian star showed determination, rising to the occasion as Williams began to commit unforced errors and breaking her twice in the second set.
Williams hit back to tie the set at 3-3 before making Halep struggle on her serve again.
The 29-year-old defended five break points before finally surrendering to put Williams within sight of the final four.
Serena Williams wins the last 5 games, beats Simona Halep 6-3, 6-3 to reach her 39th Grand Slam semifinal, 9th at the #AusOpen. She was SO GOOD today.Every time Serena reached the last 4 in Melbourne, won the tournament. Gets Naomi Osaka next. pic.twitter.com/o5DYhGdMcj
— José Morgado (@josemorgado) February 16, 2021
The irrepressible icon comfortably held her lead to book her place in the semifinals, where she will face her principal rival, Japan’s Naomi Osaka, in a repeat of the 2018 US Open final.
Just as she had in that year’s Miami Open, Osaka won in straight sets in the showpiece, beating Williams 6-2, 6-4 on that occasion.