Serena Williams after toppling No. 1 Simona Halep: I never give up

Updated: Jan 22, 2019, 09:01 IST | AFP

The American beat the Romanian top seed 6-1, 4-6, 6-4 in an epic three-setter to line up a last eight clash with Czech eighth seed Karolina Pliskova

Serena Williams after toppling No. 1 Simona Halep: I never give up
Simona Halep congratulates Serena Williams (right) for her victory in the Australian Open at Melbourne yesterday. Pic/AFP

Serena Williams subdued a stubborn fightback from World No. 1 Simona Halep to take her quest for a record-equalling 24th major into the Australian Open quarter-finals yesterday.

The American beat the Romanian top seed 6-1, 4-6, 6-4 in an epic three-setter to line up a last eight clash with Czech eighth seed Karolina Pliskova. It was Williams' first match against a World No. 1 since returning after having a baby in September 2017 and the American showed why many already regard her as the greatest of
all time.

She unleashed an early onslaught and Halep was in danger crumbling before the French Open champion regrouped for a stirring comeback. "It was an intense match and there were some incredible points," Williams said. "She's the No. 1 player in the world and there's a reason why... (but) I'm such a fighter, I just never give up."

Williams won her 23rd Grand Slam Down Under two years ago while two months pregnant and is the bookies' favourite to claim an eighth Australian title, despite being seeded 16th. Another major would match Margaret Court's tally and an intensely-focused Williams had not dropped a set in three matches before meeting Halep.

Williams' started slowly, but the American broke back in the next, racing to the net for an overhead smash when one of her powerfully hit returns flew high off Halep's racquet.

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