Serena Williams demolished world no.1 Simona Halep 6-1, 4-6, 6-4 to storm into the quarterfinals of the 2019 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on Monday. Williams, ranked 16th, did not play the Australian Open last year following the birth of her daughter.

Serena Williams played the French Open last year but pulled out in the fourth round before reaching the finals of the Wimbledon and US Open. In Melbourne, Williams has looked in stunning form as was evident from her match Simon Halep, 10 years her junior.

Williams is chasing her 8th Australian Open title. This was the first Williams played a world No.1 since 2013 – back then it was Victoria Azarenka.

Simona Halep started well when she broke Serena Williams in the first game of the match. But it was a Serena Williams show thereafter as she took the first set 6-1. But Halep fought back in the second set which she won 6-4, breaking Williams twice in the process. By conceding the second set, Serena Williams saw her 21-set winning streak at the Australian Open come to an end.

Serena and Halep were quite cautious in the decider but the former sealed the big break in the seventh game of the set and didn’t look back from there.

On Saturday, Serena Williams had crushed Dayana Yastremska 6-2, 6-1. Yastremska was in tears after the match but Williams consoled the Ukrainian teenager.

“As she was walking towards the net, I could tell she was quite upset,” Williams told reporters. “I kind of liked that. It shows she wasn’t just there to play a good match, she was there to win. She wanted to win. That really broke my heart.

“I think she’s a good talent. It’s good to see that attitude.”