Serena will be waiting alongside Sabalenka for the Australian Open quarter-final place

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Serena Williams, a 23-time Grand Slam champion awaited a tough challenge from a spiritual opponent, as the 10th American seeded No. 7 Aryna Sabalenka from Belarus, 6-4, 2-6, 6 -4 to secure her place in the Australian Open semi-finals.

Fireworks were on display as the two powerful winners and the top 10 seeds jumped for a place in the last eight of a first major year, in an expected starter meeting big between the two. Williams eventually came out on top after two hours and nine minutes, denying Sabalenka the first Grand Slam quarter-final debut of her career.

“It was really important because I didn’t want to be out of the competition, so it felt good to finally trim that and get through,” said Williams. , at her post-match press conference.

Williams is a former World Cup and her questions for Australia’s eighth Open title and historic 24th Grand Slam title continue, as she fired 30 winners, including nine asses, to take the charge. -out of Sabalenka. Sabalenka had won 18 of her last 19 games but it is Williams who will move into the quarterfinals of Melbourne for the 13th time in his career.

“I just felt like even losing games, I was so close to winning,” Williams said. “It wasn’t all games, but probably most of them. those games. I just had to play better on the big points. I knew I could. I had not yet reached my summit. I was like, ‘Okay, Serena, you got this, just keep going. ‘”

She really is one of the only voices I hear. I don’t know if I’m breaking out and she’s the only one I hear. I know when I hear her voice, it just makes me calm and confident. Yeah, I think there’s something about it that just makes me feel really good.

– Serena Williams, when her sister Venus supports her in the crowd

Another big name awaits Williams in the quarters, as she will now face Simona Halep, a two-time Grand Slam champion or manager Iga Swiatek, champion Roland Garros.

“At this point I’m ready for every player,” Williams said. “It’s the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam. I’ve been here more times than I could even count. That’s the right view for me. I’ll be ready for every player.”

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In the first set, Sabalenka barely missed a point on service before holding two points to rest at 3-3. However, Williams cut off those chances with service winners, then used a combination of pristine power and divine defense to whitewash the first break of the game in the final game of the opener.

Williams was unable to sustain the move in the second set, as her first-serve percentage dropped to 36 percent and Sabalenka was rewarded with a break in the first three-game service in America. Sabalenka’s power game was in full flight as she raced through the second set and slowed down the game – Williams ’first set fell for a fortnight.

Williams advanced 4-1 in the decision before stronger ground hits from Sabalenka’s racket pulled back into service at 4-3. Unfortunately, Williams swept four points in a row to hold on for 5-4 and put pressure on Sabalenka to stay in the game. There, Sabalenka was eliminated by a double and two fouls beforehand, and Williams grabbed the decisive break to grab a win.

I think it’s pretty deep again, “Williams said, exploring the field.” I think there have been a lot of players who could win the title from the start of the draw. I think there are as many players who come out and win Grand Slams as can keep winning.

“It’s good. It’s good to see. It’s good to see I’m in that mix too.”

Stat check: Williams has seven Australian Open titles (2003, 2005, 2007, 2009-2010, 2015, and 2017) as a record in the Open Era (since 1968). Her 20 appearances at the Australian Open are second among active players, behind her sister, Venus, who has 21 appearances.