Persistence paid off when Halep converted her fourth break opportunity, darting forward to crack a backhand beyond Williams' reach. 'I think that's something that we're going to continue to do, continue to fight for. As an eight-year-old she had cheered Williams on to an Australian Open title a decade ago from her lounge room in Odessa, even simulating the American's strokes with her own racquet as she watched on television. The Japanese player won their first meeting 6-3, 6-4 in the second round of Toronto in 2017, but Sevastova captured two straight-sets victories past year in Doha and Beijing.
"I'm definitely very happy with how I played today - especially how I served and got out of some could-be-bad situations", she said.
Speaking prior to her sister's outing, Williams understandably said she was rooting for Venus but would relish a matchup against Halep. Among the men's matches, six-time champion Novak Djokovic plays Daniil Medvedev, and No. 4 Alexander Zverev meets No. 16 Milos Raonic.
'What can I do to help these young players coming up? "I haven't played the world No. 1 since I've been back".
Halep struggled through a pair of three-setters in her opening two matches but was in much better form Saturday during a 6-2, 6-3 victory over Williams' sister, Venus.
It's become as routine as her service motion: Serena Williams wins a match, walks to the net, hugs her opponent and then consoles the woman she just defeated.
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I will not put pressure on myself.
Seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus is unseeded, but remains a threat.
Asked whether the pursuit of Court is in the back of her mind as she edges closer to the mark, Williams joked: "I've been "edging closer" for probably like a decade now. What I'm trying to do is to go to the level that people are going to talk about me the same, that I have something special". "Young girls, young women, just want to go out there and do their best and want to win". It's hard, obviously, to play well for however many matches it takes to win a Grand Slam.
"I could tell she was quite upset". She has an 8-1 record against Halep but they have not played since 2016. But in this moment, I am confident and I'm positive. I'm used to face her.
Serena, meanwhile, was not challenged at all during Week 1, dropping a total of nine games through three matches.
Fourth-seeded Osaka looked down and out against Taiwanese veteran Hsieh Su-wei before battling back to win 7-5, 4-6, 6-1 and set up a last 16 meeting with Latvia's Anastasija Sevastova. As I always say, we have to have these uncomfortable conversations so we can start just fighting for having equality throughout'.