In 1999, the 17-year-old Serena Williams entered her seventh singles Major tournament at home in New York, failing to pass the third round at the previous six Majors she had entered. The super talented American changed all that in front of the home fans, going all the way to claim the first Major crown and announce her grand arrival.
Twenty-one and a half years later, Williams is 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, Serena has 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 during the off-season, Serena has 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 the 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 on both serve and return to leave the Romanian far behind and add another Major achievement to her tally.
Serena Williams is the third player with 40 Major semi-finals.
Williams fired 24 winners and under 30 unforced errors, having the upper hand in the rallies and toppling the opponent in both the shortest and most extended exchanges.
Defending nicely, Serena stuck to her gameplan and dictated the pace with sharp and well-placed strokes that Halep had no answer for, reducing the Romanian to around 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 move over the top and enter history books.