Australian Open 2021: Serena Williams upsets No. 2 Simona Halep, sets up rematch with Naomi Osaka in semis

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Serena Williams certainly didn’t have an ideal start in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open on Tuesday. She found herself trailing 3-1 in the opening set of her match with No. 2 Simona Halep. Then, the American tennis star changed her fortunes. Williams, the No. 10 seed, responded by winning the last five games of the opening set and defeating Halep 6-3, 6-3 to win the quarterfinals matchup.

This marks the first time that Williams has reached the Australian Open semifinals since 2017, when she won the tournament.

“I just realized I was making a lot of unforced errors in those games that I lost. And I knew that I had an opportunity to play better,” Williams said, per the Associated Press. “So I was just like, ‘Just stay in there. You just can keep going.’ And that’s what I just did.”

Now Williams finds herself set for a semifinal matchup against No. 3 Naomi Osaka on Thursday. Osaka advanced after topping Hsieh Su-wei 6-2, 6-2 in the quarterfinals.

Williams and Osaka certainly are familiar with one another, to say the least.

Osaka will carry a 19-match winning streak into the semifinals and this will be the fourth time that the two tennis stars face off. Of course, Osaka’s most noteworthy moment came in the 2018 U.S. Open final when she defeated Williams.

Williams has gone 0-4 in Grand Slam tournament finals since winning the 2017 Australian Open. One of those losses came against Osaka and another came in the 2019 Wimbledon finals against Halep.

It’s quite possible that Williams could have to beat each of the top three players in this year’s field if she wants to win the Australian Open. Even if Williams beats Osaka, No. 1 Ashleigh Barty may be waiting for her in the final if she wins her semifinal matchup against No. 25 Karolina Muchova.

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