Serena Williams vs Simona Halep Australian Open 2021 Quarter-Finals: Preview, Prediction and Head-to-Head

Published 02/15/2021, 1:39 AM EST
Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, Serena Williams of the U.S. celebrates winning her fourth round match against Belarus’ Aryna Sabalenka REUTERS/Asanka Brendon Ratnayake


The last time they met at the Australian Open, which was in the fourth round in 2019, Serena Williams and Simona Halep played an entertaining and absorbing three-setter which eventually fell in the American’s favor.

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As they meet again on Tuesday for a place in the semi-final at Melbourne Park, it would take a brave soul to call the contest in favor of either player considering how they seem to be peaking at the right time.

Both fought off stiff challenges on the way to sealing their passage to the last-eight and will go into the quarter-final tie high on belief and confidence.

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Williams had to battle hard to beat Aryna Sabalenka in the Round-4

A veteran of many battles, Serena had to put on her champion’s cape and strain every inch of her aging muscles to finish on the winning side against a doughty and determined Aryna Sabalenka in the fourth round.

The 39-year-old took the opening set, but the Belarussian seized the momentum right back by breezing through to a win in the second. 

However, in a fightback that is now the stuff of legends in the sport, the 7-time Australian Open champion found just that extra bit of fight in her aching bones to close out a 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 win over the seventh-ranked Belarussian.

Halep, too, didn’t have an easy passage to the quarter-finals and was, in fact, staring at an early exit during her second-round tie against home favorite Ajla Tomljanovic.

Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, February 14, 2021 Romania’s Simona Halep celebrates winning her fourth round match against Poland’s Iga Swiatek REUTERS/Asanka Brendon Ratnayake

Roared on by a partisan crowd, the Australian looked to be on course for an upset win over the World Number 2 after winning the opening set at a canter.

However, the losing finalist at Melbourne Park in 2018 staged a fightback befitting a 2-time Grand Slam champion to eventually come away with a 4-6, 6-4, 7-5 win.

Simona Halep fought back from a set down against Iga Swiatek to set up Serena Williams Date

Up against reigning French Open champion Iga Swiatek for a place in the quarters on Valentine’s Day, Halep was staring down the barrel after dropping the opening set.

But not unlike a wounded and cornered tigress, the Romanian bounced right back and tore the 19-year-old Pole apart in the subsequent sets to set up a clash with Serena.

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Going by the head-to-head record, which puts Serena in a clear 9-2 lead in 11 meetings, one wouldn’t give Halep a shout in the quarter-final.

However, past record is baggage that’s best left behind when two players walk out for a fresh battle. While it might build pressure on Serena to do a repeat of 2019, it could also weigh Halep down thinking how much she trails the American in head-to-head count.

So, expect the two to put recent history aside and gear up for a bruising battle on Tuesday.

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Priyabrata Chowdhury

835 articles

Priyabrata Chowdhury is a tennis author for EssentiallySports. He has been a print journalist for a decade, producing news pages for leading national dailies such as the Hindustan Times and The New Indian Express. His passion for sports eventually drove him to tennis writing.

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