In 1999, the 17-year-old Serena Williams entered already her seventh Major tournament at home in New York, failing to pass the third round at the previous six she had entered. The super talented American changed all that in front of the home fans to go all the way, claim the first Major crown and announce her grand arrival.
Twenty-one and a half years later, Williams was still among the world's best players at 39, battling hard despite achieving everything she could a long time ago and seeking the elusive 24th Major title. Competing at her 20th Australian Open in February, Serena advanced to her 40th Major semi-final, becoming the second-oldest player in the last four at Majors after Billie Jean King and the third with that many appearances after Chris Evert (52) and Martina Navratilova (44)!
Working hard to overcome an injury during the off-season, Serena played on a high level in her opening five Melbourne encounters, losing only one set and ousting two of the top-7 seeds to remain on the title course. Serena defeated Laura Siegemund, Nina Stojanovic, Anastasia Potapova and the 7th seed Aryna Sabalenka en route to the last eight, facing world no.
2 Simona Halep in a battle for the semis. Williams stopped the clock again to celebrate a convincing 6-3, 6-3 victory in an hour and 21 minutes, delivering impressive tennis to leave the Romanian far behind and secure more Major honors.
Serena Williams became the third player with 40 Major semi-finals.
Williams fired 24 winners and under 30 unforced errors, delivering aggressive tennis and keeping the rallies on her racquet in the shortest and most extended exchanges.
Defending nicely, Serena stuck to her gameplan and dictated the pace with sharp and well-placed strokes that left Halep unarmed and with only ten direct points. They traded early breaks in the opener, and Serena earned another to open a 4-2 gap.
The American served well in games seven and nine to wrap up the opener and gather a boost ahead of set number two. Serena held at love while leading 4-3 in the second set and scored a break at 30 with a forehand winner to secure a place in the next round and write history again at 39.