No. 10 seed Serena Williams will play in her 40th Grand Slam semifinal of her career after beating No. 2 seed Simona Halep of Romania 6-3, 6-3 on Tuesday at the Australian Open in Melbourne.
Williams, who has won the title seven times in Melbourne, is pursuing a record-tying 24th Grand Slam championship.
It’s the first Australian Open semifinal for Williams since 2017, when she went on to claim her 23rd title.
Halep had dominated their previous meeting, winning the 2019 Wimbledon final 6-2, 6-2, which had stuck with Williams.
“I feel like I needed to have a good performance today, especially after my last match against her,” Williams said. “So it was really important to try to play well today. … I knew I couldn’t play worse (than last time). So that was a good thing.”
Williams, 39, improved to 10-2 for her career against Halep.
Halep suggested the match was closer than the score would indicate.
“My feeling after this match is that I was not that far, but also, she was stronger in the important moments,” Halep said. “I accept she beat me, but also if I could be a little bit stronger with the serve the chance could have been a little bit bigger for me.”
Williams faces another test to reach the final, with third-seeded Naomi Osaka of Japan awaiting.
Osaka breezed past Su-Wei Hsieh of Taiwan 6-2, 6-2 for her 19th victory in a row. She’s won each of the three previous Grand Slam tournaments where she has reached quarterfinals and has beaten Williams in two of their three meetings.
Phillip Island Trophy
No. 2 seed Bianca Andreescu of Canada beat Zarina Diyas of Kazakhstan in a walkover at the Phillip Island Trophy in Melbourne in third-round action.
No. 4 seed Petra Martic of Croatia and No. 8 seed Danielle Collins of the U.S. also advanced with straight sets wins.
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, seeded seventh, wasn’t as lucky, falling to unseeded Daria Kasatkina 2-6, 6-1, 6-4 in an all-Russian battle.
–Field Level Media