Serena Williams took a huge step towards an eighth Australian Open title by beating world number one Simona Halep in a Melbourne nail-biter.
The 37-year-old edged a see-saw last-16 encounter, winning it 6-1 4-6 6-4.
Halep, who could now lose her top ranking to any one of four players, pushed hard in the second set and at the start of the third, but Williams responded in true champion fashion to continue her bid to equal Margaret Court’s all-time record of 24 Grand Slam singles titles.
Related: Halep Keeps Cool After Defeat
“I really needed to elevate my game,” she told the crowd afterwards. “I’m such a fighter, I just never give up. “It’s definitely something that’s innate. I just work so hard for every point.”
After losing her serve in the opening game, Williams duly won eight of the next nine games and appeared in complete control.
However, Halep hit back, breaking back to level the second set at 2-2 before pushing on to level the contest.
The Romanian arguably looked the more likely winner in the early stages of the decider but Williams claimed the crucial break in the seventh game before serving out.
She will now meet Karolina Pliskova in the last eight. Pliskova eased past former Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza 6-3 6-1.
The other quarter-final in the top half of the draw will see US Open champion Naomi Osaka face Elina Svitolina.
Both needed three sets to progress on Monday. Osaka came from a set down to beat Anastasija Sevastova 4-6 6-3 6-4, while Svitolina defeated Madison Keys 6-2 1-6 6-1.
Pliskova, Osaka and Svitolina are all in the running to become the new number one, as is Petra Kvitova. If one of them wins the title, they will also claim top spot when the new rankings are published next week.Copyright © 2020 Completesports.com All rights reserved. The information contained in Completesports.com may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without the prior written authority of Completesports.com. How I make $10,000 monthly in Online SALES? apply the *Social Media Marketing Strategy* and watch your account balance swell. Buy eBook NOW!!!