Serena Williams ousts No. 1 Simona Halep at Australian Open

United States’ Serena Williams celebrates after defeating Romania’s Simona Halep in their fourth round match at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Monday, Jan. 21, 2019. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Serena Williams faced her first real test at this year’s Australian Open and emerged with a 6-1, 4-6, 6-4 victory over No. 1-ranked Simona Halep to reach the quarterfinals.

It was a back-and-forth match Monday night, filled with momentum swings and terrific play by both women.

Williams gained control for good after saving three break points in a monumental game to hold for 3-all in the third set. She then broke for a 4-3 lead and finally was on her way.

The 37-year-old American is trying to win an eighth singles championship at Melbourne Park and record-tying 24th Grand Slam trophy overall.

Williams next meets 2016 U.S. Open runner-up Karolina Pliskova.

Until facing Halep, Williams had dropped a total of only nine games through three matches in the tournament. Not only did Halep exceed that total, she also snapped Williams’ 21-set Australian Open winning streak.

That dated to the start of Williams’ run to the 2017 title, which she won while pregnant. She gave birth to a daughter in September 2017, then sat out last year’s Australian Open.

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