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Serena Williams knocks out Simona Halep in epic Australian Open clash
Serena Williams knocks out Simona Halep in epic Australian Open clash

Serena Williams knocks out Simona Halep in epic Australian Open clash

Written by Gideon Sarpong
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Serena Williams outlined why she is the favourite to win the Australian Open with a 6-1 4-6 6-4 win over top seed Simona Halep in a high-quality last-16 match.

The 37-year-old American dismantled Halep's game to race through the opening set in 20 minutes.

Romania's Halep, 27, recovered in the second, breaking in what proved to be the final game.

Williams, seeded 16th, saved three break points for 3-3 in the decider, crucially winning the next game to seize control.

The 23-time Grand Slam champion comfortably held her next service game to edge closer, then served out for victory over last year's runner-up in one hour and 47 minutes.

Triumphantly punching the air with both arms as she gave a steely stare towards her box, Williams showed how much relief she felt at beating the world number one.

"It was an intense match and there were some incredible points, but I love being here," she said.

Halep admitted before the match that Williams was still the "best player in the world", and Williams may have proved it with her first win over a number-one ranked player since beating Victoria Azarenka in 2013.

"I really needed to elevate my game," Williams said.

"She's the number one player in the world and there's a reason why. She's a great player."