Serena Williams produced a stunning performance to defeat Simona Halep to set up an Australian Open semi-final showdown with Naomi Osaka on Tuesday.
The 39-year-old American took a step closer to a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam title with a 6-3, 6-3 win against the second seed Halep.
Williams said that her level was improving ahead of her meeting with Japan’s Naomi Osaka, who came out on top in their encounter at 2018 US Open title match.
“Definitely think this is the best match I have played this tournament, for sure,” said the 10th seed.
“Obviously I had to, going up against the number two in the world, so I knew I had to do better.”
In a match that lasted for over 80 minutes, Williams had a mixed day with 24 winners and 33 unforced errors in the contest. The 23 time Grand Slam winner has not won a major since her 2017 Australian Open triumph.
On the other hand, Halep reached the semi-finals last year and was a runner-up in 2018.
William started quickly with her fiery shots with a break of serve to lead 2-0 before Halep’s resilience helped in wiping out the early deficit.
However, Williams continued to find angles with her powerful returns, allowing her to break again for 4-2 lead before winning the first set.
At the start of the second set, Williams conceded several unforced errors and double faults that helped Halep break for 2-0 lead.
After the pair exchanged three more breaks, Williams bounced back strong off the final five games to clinch an impressive victory.
“I realised I was making a lot of unforced errors in the games I lost and knew I had an opportunity to play better,” said Williams, who reached the 40th Grand Slam semi-final of her career.