Serena Williams overcame Aryna Sabalenka in a ferocious fourth-round battle on Sunday at Rod Laver Arena to advance at Australian Open 2021.
In the first ever meeting between two of the game’s biggest hitters, Williams’ greater poise, versatility and consistency saw her emerge with a 6-4 2-6 6-4 victory.
Williams, in her ongoing quest for a 24th major singles title, will face either Simona Halep or Iga Swiatek for a place in the semifinals.
“I didn't want to be out of the tournament, so it felt good to kind of clutch that in the end and get through that,” she said.
“I just felt like even games that I lost, I was so close to winning. Not all games, but probably most of those games. I just needed to play better on the big points. I knew that I could. I still hadn't reached my peak. I was like: 'Okay, Serena, you got this, just keep going'.
“It was definitely a lot of power … but I'm used to it in practice. I know how to get them. I was okay with it really.
“If she wants to play power, let's go.”