Australian Open: Serena Williams to face Osaka in semis after passing Halep test

Serena Williams went toe-to-toe with Simona Halep over 80 engrossing minutes before she was finally able to move to within two victories of a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam title.

Serena Williams came through a huge test of her Australian Open title credentials to beat Simona Halep 6-3 6-3 in a high quality quarter-final and reach the last four at Melbourne Park for the ninth time on Tuesday.

The 39-year-old American went toe-to-toe with the Romanian second seed over 80 engrossing minutes on Rod Laver Arena before she was finally able to move to within two victories of a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam title.

Williams, who mixed 24 winners with 33 unforced errors over the contest, has not won a major since her seventh Australian Open triumph in 2017 and next faces in-form Japanese third seed Naomi Osaka with a place in the final on the line.

For Halep, who reached the semi-finals last year and was losing finalist in 2018, it was back to the drawing board as she looks to add to her two Grand Slam titles at the French Open and Wimbledon.

OSAKA THRASHES HSIEH IN QUARTERS

The brute force of Naomi Osaka crushed the artistry of Hsieh Su-wei as the Japanese former champion charged into the Australian Open semi-finals with a 6-2 6-2 win on Tuesday.

On a warm and muggy day at Rod Laver Arena, Osaka attacked Hsieh’s weak serve with gusto and the Taiwanese giantkiller quickly wilted under the pressure of her Grand Slam quarter-final debut.

Osaka had a torrid time in her last Australian Open clash against Hsieh in 2019, needing to come back from a set and a break down on the way to claiming the championship.

“Yeah, definitely really happy,” 23-year-old Osaka said on-court. “Really happy with how I played today. Every time I play her it’s a real battle and, despite the score, this was again a real battle today.”

Hsieh, 35, bowed out after a stellar tournament, having become the oldest women’s player to debut in a Grand Slam quarter-final in the professional era.

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