Serena Williams has charged into the Australian Open semi-finals with a dominant straight sets victory over Simona Halep.
The world No 11 thoroughly outclassed the world No.2, with Williams particularly punishing the second serve of Halep in the 6-3 6-3 victory.
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Despite going down 0-2 in the second set, Williams stormed back in record time to book her place in the final four of the season opening grand slam.
Williams will now face Naomi Osaka in the semi-final, with a potential grand final matchup against Australia's Ash Barty potentially on the cards.
The dominant display from Williams had fans on social media hopeful the 39-year-old could win an eighth Australian Open and record-equalling 24th grand slam.
Serena Williams had a couple of corners to turn, but just had too many tools against Simona Halep in a straight forward victory
She is moving pretty well and striking solid. Naomi Osaka will need to bring it all when they face off in the semis on Thursday#AusOpen
— Anand Datla (@SportaSmile) February 16, 2021
— Marcos Breton (@MarcosBreton) February 16, 2021
Serena Williams wins the last 5 games, beats Simona Halep 6-3, 6-3 to reach her 39th Grand Slam semifinal, 9th at the #AusOpen. She was SO GOOD today.
Every time Serena reached the last 4 in Melbourne, won the tournament.
Gets Naomi Osaka next. pic.twitter.com/o5DYhGdMcj
— José Morgado (@josemorgado) February 16, 2021
However Osaka has no plans to take it easy on the American veteran, with her own potential Melbourne Park showdown with Ash Barty well and truly on the 23-year-old's mind.
If she gets the chance to take on Barty in what would be a promoter's dream Australian Open final, Osaka wants the Rod Laver Arena grandstands to be packed.
At least as packed as Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews will allow.
Osaka powered into the Open semi-finals on Tuesday, ending the fairytale run of Taiwan's Hsieh Su-Wei with a 6-2 6-2 demolition job.
And even though the world's best tennis players often claim they never look far ahead in the draw, Osaka was prepared to publicly entertain the thrilling possibility of taking on world No.1 Barty in Saturday night's title match.
Were the Queenslander to make it to the final, the hype and expectation would be off the charts that she could end a local title drought at the Open dating way back to Chris O'Neil in 1978.
"I would want people to come," said Osaka, the 2019 Australian Open champion.
"I feel that's something for (Barty) that would be a big memory.
"Even for me, I've played finals before with no crowd and it's definitely memorable.
"But I'm sure for her, if she reaches the final and there's no crowd, it would be memorable but kind of in a sad way.
"I'm sure she would want a crowd and I would want a crowd too, even if they don't cheer for me.
"That's just the way life is. It's just more fun."
The Victorian government will decide on Wednesday whether to end the COVID-19 lockdown after five days.
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