AUSTRALIAN OPEN: DAY 8
There is no denying it, Serena Williams is playing not only because she loves tennis but because she wants to break Margaret Court’s record at the majors. Court has 24 major titles and Williams would like to surpass that number.
Her first real challenge came today in the form of the number one ranked female player, Simona Halep. Recognizing that despite not playing at her best, Halep would still be a stiff challenge, Williams came out a bit anxious and was promptly broken at love. However, she quickly righted the ship and did not lose another game in the first set.
HALEP FOUND HER LEGS
After losing the first set in twenty-minutes (1-6), Halep came fighting back in the second set. The Romanian picked up the pace on her serve and started moving Williams around the court more. Despite dropping her serve in the third game, Halep immediately broke back to even the set 2-2. A few more errors crept into Williams’ game and Halep elevated the intensity of her return game to break Williams for a second time to even the match (6-4).
WILLIAMS WAS DETERMINED
The third set showcased the best tennis of both players. Halep served well, moved even better and kept the pressure on Williams. Williams had to tighten up her game by cutting down on the unforced errors and moving better. It was a battle of wills and Williams came out victorious 6-1, 4-6, 6-4. With the victory, Williams keeps alive her quest for major title number twenty-four; however, the draw does not get any easier and she will have to bring her “A” game to defeat Karolina Pliskova in the next round.
OTHER SINGLES SEEDED RESULTS
 Naomi Osaka (JPN) defeated  Anastasija Sevastova (LAT) 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.
 Alexander Zverev (GER) lost to  Milos Raonic (CAN) 1-6, 1-6, 6-7(5). While this may seem like an upset, Raonic was once ranked as high as number three.
 Elina Svitolina (UKR) defeated  Madison Keys (USA) 6-2, 1-6, 6-1. This was a whacky match; Keys squandered tons of break point opportunities in the third set in one game and once she failed to break, her game unraveled.
 Karolina Pliskova (CZE) defeated  Garbine Muguruza (ESP) 6-3, 6-1.
 Borna Coric (CRO) lost to  Lucas Pouille (FRA) in a tough four set battle: 7-6(4), 4-6, 5-7, 6-7(2). Pouille had an erratic 2018 season and he is hoping to put a more consistent stamp on his 2019 season.
SPECIAL MENTION (DOUBLES)
J. Brady/A. Riske (USA) defeated  N. Melichar (USA)/K. Peschke (CZE) 6-3, 6-4.
 A. Spears (USA)/J. Cabal (COL) defeated Schuurs/Middelkoop (NED) 6-1, 6-2.
Mattek-Sands (USA)/J. Murray (GBR) defeated Mladenovic (FRA)/Lindstedt (SWE) 6-4, 6-4.
Harrison/S. Querrey (USA) defeated J. Sock/J. Withrow (USA) 4-6, 6-3, 7-5. Sock’s run at the Australian Open is over.
SOURCE OF IMAGES: Zimbio.com (Cameron Spencer/Getty Images AsiaPac – inserted image and Quinn Rooney/Getty Images AsiaPac- main image: Serena Williams)