Simona Halep not intimidated by Serena Williams ahead of Melbourne showdown

While Williams eased her way into the second week there were far more hard third-round encounters for Elina Svitolina and Naomi Osaka, who both needed come-from-behind wins to reach the last-16. Williams' older sister Venus was beaten by Halep, 6-2, 6-3.

The 18-year-old tennis player locked horns with the seven-time champion Serena Williams at Australia Open in a recent match.

"In my opinion, to be No. 1 in the world and to be the best player in the world, it's a little bit different", Halep said, per Sandra Harwitt.

"In this moment, I'm No 1 in the world, so I will take that". She's cruised into the fourth round for the loss of just nine games and didn't lose a set in the first week; those are the numbers that deserve your attention. "I can not compare my results to her".

But top seed Halep is an much tougher assignment as she edges towards an eighth Melbourne title at a tournament blown wide open with the ousting of defending champion Caroline Wozniacki and second seed Angelique Kerber. "It shows she wasn't just there to play a good match, she was there to win", the American said.

American star Williams, 37, occupied the world No 1 ranking on eight separate occasions between 2002 and 2017 for a total of 319 weeks altogether. According to The New York Times' Adam Zagoria, that hasn't been done in nearly a decade, with Jelena Jankovic last accomplishing the feat at the 2010 Italian Open in Rome.

Addressing her upcoming match against Serena, Halep stated that she is no more intimidated by her opponent. "It will be good". Halep broke again to open the second set but this time Williams managed to respond immediately. Williams, however, thumped Halep several days later 6-3 6-0 to win the tournament and holds an 8-1 record overall against the 27-year-old. When I was young I played against so many people and everyone I faced was intimidating and not easy.

"She played pretty flawless today", Venus said. She put her right hand on Yastremska's shoulder and consoled her by saying, "You're so young". "I just felt with such a low position of the sun, the lights being switched on at 5 p.m. was completely unnecessary".

"She was unbelievable, she came out swinging".

Halep acknowledged she used to cower at the thought of facing Serena. "I will see what is going to happen on court".

'Like I said the other day, in order for change to really be made, men and women have to work together, they have to have the same message, they have to support each other.

Speaking prior to her sister's outing, Williams understandably said she was rooting for Venus but would relish a matchup against Halep. I remember one time in particular against Venus at Wimbledon, as I was walking to the net, I started bawling.

  • Steve Townsend