Serena comes through Halep test to reach semi-finals

Paul CROCK / AFP

Serena Williams came through a huge test of her Australian Open title credentials to beat Simona Halep 6-3, 6-3 in a high quality quarter-final and reach the last four for the ninth time on Tuesday.

The 39-year-old American went toe-to-toe with the Romanian second seed over 80 engrossing minutes on Rod Laver Arena before she was finally able to move to within two victories of a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam title.

Williams, who mixed 24 winners with 33 unforced errors over the contest, has not won a major since her seventh Australian Open triumph in 2017 and next faces in-form Japanese third seed Naomi Osaka with a place in the final on the line.

For Halep, who reached the semi-finals last year and was losing finalist in 2018, it was back to the drawing board as she looks to add to her two Grand Slam titles at the French Open and Wimbledon.

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