Simona Halep scored a 3-6, 6-1, 6-4 win against Iga Swiatek, 3-6, 6-1, 6-4 in 1 hour and 50 minutes in a thrilling match on Sunday to reach the Australian Open quarterfinals.
The No. 2-seeded Romanian avenged a loss to Ms Swiatek last October at same stage at the French Open after which the 19-year-old took her first Grand Slam title.
The win sets up another showdown against Serena Williams, the first meeting since Ms Halep defeated her in the 2019 Wimbledon final.
In the opening set, Ms Swiatek, who’s Polish, saved the first two break points of the match at 3-3, and then took 10 of the last 11 points for the early lead.
But Halep changed gear. After committing 10 unforced errors in the opening set, she had just three in the second and four in the third.
Afterward, she said: „I thought before the match that I have to be a little bit more aggressive than Paris.”
“I saw that I do some mistakes. … I don’t like to do easy mistakes. And then I just step back a little bit. I did a step back, and I wanted just to open the court more to have more time and to roll the ball better. So I did that, and that’s why I could win.”
The Romanian hit the ball more fluently in the third set but was undone by 19 unforced errors, while Ms Halep, the 2018 runner-up in Australia, focused on deep and central balls which means Ms Swiatek had no short balls nor angles to work with, WTA reported.
In the last game the Ms Halep hit a couple of strong backhands to hold at love.
„I felt that she was playing better, and she was more focused than the beginning of the set,” she told reporters. „She didn’t give up a point, which makes the life tougher during the match, but I did the same thing, and I’m happy that I could be a little bit stronger in the end.”
Simona Halep and Serena Williams will meet Tuesday.