Serena Williams reached her first Major quarter-final at the US Open 1999, just before turning 18, heading all the way to lift the first Major title. Over two decades later, the American is still among the world's best players, proudly owning 23 Major trophies and giving her best to secure the elusive 24th.
Seeking the first Major title in four years, Serena is through to the Australian Open quarter-final, her 13th in Melbourne. Thus, Serena has earned another Major milestone, joining Chris Evert on 54 Major quarter-finals and leaving Martina Navratilova on 53.
Williams has lost only one set so far in Melbourne, beating Laura Siegemund, Nina Stojanovic, Anastasia Potapova and the 7th seed Aryna Sabalenka en route to the last eight and another Major achievement. Serena overpowered an in-form Sabalenka 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 in two hours and nine minutes, reaching the Australian Open quarter-final precisely 20 years after the first one.
Serena Williams will compete in her 54th Major quarter-final on Tuesday.
Williams fired 30 winners and 26 unforced errors to overpower the Belarusian and past the first serious obstacle in Melbourne. Both players scored four breaks from 20 chances overall, staying neck and neck and winning 94 points each!
Serena prevailed with a double break in the decider to seal the deal and overpower a dangerous rival. The more experienced player fended off two break chances in the opener's seventh game with some brave hitting and closed it with a backhand winner.
Serena finished the ninth game with a service winner and seized the second set point in the next one after forcing Sabalenka's error for 6-4 in 43 minutes. Finding her return at the beginning of the second set, Aryna grabbed three straight breaks to open a 5-1 lead, wrapping up the set a few moments later and gathering a boost ahead of the decider.
Fighting back, Serena earned a break in the final set's game four when her rival netted a forehand and repelled two break opportunities in the next one to open a 4-1 advantage. Aryna pulled the break back at 2-4 for more drama before Williams seized a return game at 15 in game ten to move over the top and advance into the last eight.