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Simona Halep sets up fourth round against Serena after dismissing Venus Williams
20 January 2019, 01:28 | Tracey Rhodes
Simona Halep vs Venus Williams, Australian Open 2019 - live score updates
After her victory, the 23-time Grand Slam champion noticed how emotional Yastremska was after her loss, and as Yastremska wiped the tears from her face, Williams comforted her with a hug and some encouraging words.
Top seed Simona Halep had the odds stacked against her ahead of the Australian Open but the Romanian proved her title credentials with a breezy 6-2 6-3 third-round win over multiple Grand Slam victor Venus Williams on Saturday.
Sixteenth-seed Williams, whose seven title wins Down Under is an open era record, later told press how the tears of Yastremska "broke her heart". "I liked that. It showed that she wasn't just there to play the match, she was there to win. It shows she wasn't just there to play a good match, she was there to win", the American said.
She hit her first chance into the net but completed the win after Yastremska sent a return wide.
Asked whether the women's tour needs more support from their male counterparts, Williams added: 'I think Andy has been really vocal about everyone being treated equally.
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"I'm here, I'm playing as hard as I can and doing the best I can, which is really all I can do", she said. "It's good to see that attitude". The 37-year-old player, in the sweetest gesture, walked towards Dayana and consoled her while she was crying.
"I have huge respect for her because she's a great champion, but she's just an opponent next round", she also said. I'm used to face her.
The American has an 8-1 grip on that rivalry, but the Romanian comes into the match after beating her sister, Venus, fairly convincingly on day six, 6-2, 6-3 in a little more than an hour-and-a-quarter.
Serena Williams paid a tribute to Billie Jean King after her win against young Dayana Yastremska on Saturday afternoon, before making an impassioned call to her male counterparts to join the fight for equal pay across the board.
"The thing is, during their matches they're always trying different things", she said.
Speaking prior to her sister's outing, Williams understandably said she was rooting for Venus but would relish a matchup against Halep.
Younger players facing an idol like Serena Williams or Maria Sharapova on a grand stage may feel it is a dream come true.
King is renowned as much for her activism perhaps even more than her ability on the court and Williams expressed her plans to continue her work.
"She was [intimidating] when I was younger, but now I don't feel intimidated anymore", she told a media conference.
"She played pretty flawless tennis today - only 12 errors", Williams said.
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No. 5 Sloane Stephens opened the day in Rod Laver Arena with a 6-3, 6-1 victory over her junior doubles partner Timea Babos. Rafael Nadal made a winning return to tennis with a first-round victory over James Duckworth at the Australian Open .
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