Williams wins marathon in Melbourne
Serena Williams saw off a mammoth challenge from world No1 Simona Halep to book her place in the quarter-finals of the Australian Open with a 6-1, 4-6, 6-4 victory on Monday.
The seven-time champion raced through the opening set in around 20 minutes, winning six straight games to take charge of the contest on Rod Laver Arena.
But despite going a break down in the second, Halep showed resolve to twice break Williams and force a deciding set as she went toe-to-toe with the American.
With serve at 3-2 in the third, Williams saw off three break points before herself breaking Halep to put one foot in the last eight in a decisive 10-minute spell which underlined the fine margins involved at this level.
And she served out the remainder of the third set for victory.
Halep 1-6, 6-4, 3-4 Williams
Hard to believe Williams won six straight games in the opening set. Halep has gone toe-to-toe with her since those brutal opening minutes of this contest.
But there’s a chance for the American to take charge of the final set here. She gets a breakpoint and Halep puts her forehand into the net.
The fine margins of Grand Slam tennis on show here, as Halep passes up three break points before Williams wrestles control.