Simona Halep ended Iga Swiatek’s run at the Australian Open as she edged out the Pole in a classic encounter in Melbourne.
The Romanian secured her place in her fifth quarter-final at Melbourne Park as she staged a fine comeback to win 3-6 6-1 6-4 in one hour and 50 minutes.
Halep, the second seed at the opening Grand Slam of the season, had to show tremendous guts and resolve to battle her way back from losing the opening set.
The 2018 finalist became more aggressive in her play as the match wore on, and Swiatek ultimately did not have an answer for the world number two.
Mats Wilander hailed Halep as a “seasoned champion” in showing her experience to overcome the doughty Swiatek.
Fellow Eurosport expert Tim Henman added that Halep “came up with the shots at the right time” to leave Swiatek without the answers she needed at crucial points.
Next up for Halep will be an eagerly-anticipated clash with 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams, who is looking to equal Margaret Court’s elusive record of major singles titles.
“I knew I had to change something, because I was hitting too strong and too flat,” Halep said. “I moved her a little bit better and that’s why she started to miss and probably lost her rhythm.
“The court is very fast and not easy, because it is sliding so much, but I am just trying to focus on myself as much as possible.”
She added when asked about facing Williams next: “Legend. She is the best.
“It is always tough, I have experience, so many matches against her. I will just try to enjoy and play my best, because you only beat Serena if you play your best.”
Williams will be appearing in the Australian Open quarter-finals for the 13th time in her illustrious career after she sealed a 6-4 2-6 6-4 win over Aryna Sabalenka on Rod Laver Arena.
Appearing virtually in the Eurosport Cube after the match, Halep was very proud of her victory: “No chocolate for me tonight. This means a lot.”