Serena Williams consoles crying opponent after win: 'You did amazing'

Tanya Simon
January 21, 2019

That really broke my heart.

The 18-year-old from Ukraine wiped away tears as she walked to the net following the match, and Williams put her right hand on Yastremska's shoulder and consoled her by saying, "You're so young".

Yastremska used to mimic the 23-time grand slam winner's strokes while watching her play and on the eve of the season's first major, even got a chance to meet the legendary American.

There was a touching moment at the net, when Williams comforted Yastremska, who could not hold back the tears. "How (committed) she is to every ball", Yastremska said.

But that ends Monday, when Williams faces Simona Halep in the fourth round of the Australian Open.

Halep, who beat Williams' elder sister Venus to reach the fourth round, secured her sole victory over the American in the group stages of the 2014 WTA Finals.

'What can I do to help these young players coming up? "It will be good".

At the beginning of this tournament, few people picked Halep to be a threat deep into the draw. The Romanian also insisted those days are gone.

This is Williams's first official tournament since the controversial US Open final, and only her eighth since she came back last March, so sparingly does she play. She was aggressive and moved incredibly well. The plan will be to target her on the run and make her play that extra ball to force an error. Playing in her second Grand Slam event, the younger player started her campaign in Melbourne by defeating Australia's Samantha Stosur, 7/5; 6/2 and her second round opponent, Spain's Carla Suarez-Navarro 6/3; 3/6; 6/1. Venus has won three of their five head-to-heads, although Halep has come out on top in their last two meetings - most recently in the last 16 of Montreal past year. "Serena or Roger may be the best players of all time, but with or without us, they would still be top, top players".

On the women's side, all eyes will be on Serena Williams as she aims for Grand Slam number 24. She will need that confidence more than ever against Serena, a player Halep has beaten only once in nine attempts in her career. "I will see what is going to happen on court".

"I think I'm getting there", came the reply. I have to be smart, aggressive. I have to move her and give my best.

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I feel like with my platform, the things I do, the different boards that I sit on, we really talk about equality, gender equality, role equality, pay equality, how important that is.

With those comments, Halep betrayed perhaps her biggest advantage.

Halep admitted that she is not overawed by her opponent anymore, despite the lopsided head-to-head. "I just want to try to play my best tennis because I have nothing to lose against them".

But on Saturday, she was standing opposite Williams and swinging her racket.

"Yeah, and I honestly would love to face the world number one", she added.

It's a fascinating matchup. Both women have legitimate claims to being the top player in the game.

Williams defeated Yastremska in a 6-2, 6-1 victory on Saturday. She's been to three other Grand Slam finals, including a year ago at the Australian Open.

"I have huge respect for her because she's a great champion, but she's just an opponent next round", she also said.

"I could tell she was quite upset".

At least that's what she needs to tell herself.

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