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Australian Open 2021: Serena Williams vs Simona Halep preview, head-to-head & prediction

Simona Halep (left) and Serena Williams
Simona Halep (left) and Serena Williams
Mihir Gawade
ANALYST
Modified 14 Feb 2021
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Match details

Fixture: (10) Serena Williams vs (2) Simona Halep

Date: 16 February 2021

Tournament: Australian Open 2021

Round: Quarterfinals

Venue: Melbourne, Australia

Category: Grand Slam

Surface: Outdoor Hardcourt

Prize money: AUD $80 million

Live Telecast: USA - Tennis Channel | India - Sony Ten Network / Sony Liv Premium

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Serena Williams vs Simona Halep preview

Two tennis powerhouses - Serena Williams and Simona Halep - will clash against each other on Tuesday in a highly anticipated quarterfinal match at the 2021 Australian Open.

Serena Williams has been on a quest for a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam title since a while now. The 39-year-old is as motivated as ever to win another Major - which would be her first since the 2017 Australian Open - despite falling at the final hurdle four times in the last three years.

Williams has played some inspiring tennis in the tournament so far, and is now within three wins of an eighth title at Melbourne Park. The American passed a tough test in the fourth round, overcoming Belarus' big-hitting Aryna Sabalenka in three sets.

Williams' early lead in the final set of that match was negated when Sabalenka broke back to level the score. But experience eventually prevailed, as the 23-time Slam champion broke the Belarusian in a sudden death situation to win the set 6-4.

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World No. 2 Simona Halep had a similar experience in her Round of 16 match. The Romanian was presented with a rematch against her French Open conqueror Iga Swiatek, and the tough task of ending the Pole's run of nine consecutive Slam match wins.

At first Halep seemed set to suffer the same fate as she did at Roland Garros, as Swiatek had an answer for everything she threw at her. But the two-time Slam champion grabbed control of the proceedings at the start of the second set and retained it for the rest of the match to win 3-6 6-1 6-4.

Halep, the 2018 finalist in Melbourne, has mounted a comeback win twice in the tournament already. She looked out of the reckoning in the third set of her second-round match against Ajla Tomljanovic, but displayed some stunning resilience to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.


Serena Williams vs Simona Halep head-to-head

Serena Williams and Simona Halep have met 11 times before, with Williams leading the head-to-head 9-2.

Halep, however, had the last laugh when the pair met most recently, which was in the 2019 Wimbledon final. The Romanian put up one of the finest displays ever seen in a Slam final to thrash Williams and walk away with her second Major title.


Serena Williams vs Simona Halep prediction

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The Australian Open 2019 meeting between Serena Williams and Simona Halep was one for the ages. Williams won that match, but not without needing to bring her absolute best to the court.

If the two players are able to replicate the same quality from a couple of years ago, Tuesday's showstopper could potentially be the match of the tournament.

Williams will naturally try to be the aggressor and take the early initiative in the match. On the faster courts this year and under the lights, the American's big-hitting game could prove to be too strong for Halep.

But a lot also depends on how Williams is feeling on the day. If she starts overhitting and making too many unforced errors, there is no better opponent to take advantage than the solid Halep.

If the Romanian is able to replicate her form and strategy from their Wimbledon final meeting, then Williams' plans for a 24th celebration could be further pushed back. But that's easier said than done.

Prediction: Serena Williams to win in three sets.

Published 14 Feb 2021, 18:55 IST
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