It’s never easy to come face to face with Serena Williams for the first time. Aryna Sabalenka had this bitter experience.
Seventeen years old (39 for the American and 22 for the Belarusian) and an abysmal gap in the Grand Slam record (qualifying for her 54th quarter-final in Major for “SW”, still none for the 7th world) separate and it was seen in the important moments.
“Serena Williams advanced to the Australian Open quarterfinals with a tough three-set win over No. 7 seed Aryna Sabalenka and now faces a potentially brutal path to her record-tying 24th major title.
Williams, 39, could have to beat the world’s No. 1, 2 and 3 players in order to tie Australian Margaret Court atop the record books.
Serena, the No. 10 seed, will face No. 2 Simona Halep in the quarterfinals, could meet No. 3 Naomi Osaka in the semis and then could be rewarded with world No. 1 Ash Barty in the final.
Williams first had to deal with a spirited performance from Sabalenka whom she dispatched 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 in their first meeting in 2 hours, 9 minutes, denying Sabalenka the first Grand Slam quarterfinal showing of her career.
“It was obviously real important because I didn’t want to be out of the tournament, so it felt good to kind of clutch that in the end and get through that,” Williams said.“Source
So now is the time to admire her talented game.