Halep stuns Venus, sets up Australian Open pre-quarters with Serena

Melbourne: World number one Simona Halep stunned seven-time Grand Slam champion and former world number one Venus Williams of the United States in the ongoing Australian Open to enter the pre-quarters round of women’s singles event on Saturday.

The 27-year-old defeated Venus 6-2, 6-3 in an imperious fashion in the match that lasted more than an hour. The Romanian player will next face another Williams sister, 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams.

On the same day, Serena defeated Dayana Yastremska of Ukraine by 6-2, 6-1.

“I have beat Serena only once in my life, so I cannot say much about this match. Just that it is going to be a huge challenge for me. It is always great to play against Serena because every time I have to learn something from the match,” Australian Open quoted Halep, as saying.

“I have to be smart, aggressive. I have to move her and give my best. I will not super think about this because there is nothing to think, just go there and play natural and with confidence,” she added.

Halep dominated the game from the outset, thumping two backhand winners down the line to bring up break point in the opening game. Venus, who replied with one to hold, was broken soon after before missing out on four break points to trail 4-2. The game looked bleak for Venus as Halep claimed a third successive break to open the second set.

However, the world number 36 dug in, made a comeback in the next game fending off two break points in the third to stay alive. From 3-3, Halep again found a gear, which proved to be enough to seal her victory over Venus.