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Simona Halep came from a set down to avenge her 2020 French Open fourth round defeat to Iga Swiatek at the Australian Open on Sunday. The second seed won 3-6, 6-1, 6-4 in an hour and 50 minutes. This was Halep's 100th match win at a Major.
Both players began the match by taking huge cuts at each other with their forehand. While Halep remained well behind the baseline trying to absorb Swiatek’s power and redirect it back at her, the Pole’s niftiness at the net, with drop shots and volleys, kept her in the lead for the entirety of the opening set despite her serve coming under pressure on a couple of games.
The breakthrough in the set came in the eighth game, when Swiatek after fending off two break points in a mammoth nine-minute-long seventh game, broke Halep’s serve. The consolidation of the break in the following game coincided with Swiatek winning her 21st consecutive set at the Majors.
Swiatek, who knocked out Halep en route to her maiden Grand Slam title in Paris, used her booming groundstrokes to save two break points in the seventh game before immediately breaking the Romanian to love on her way to claiming the opening set.
Halep roared back with an early break in the second set as her crafty baseline play frustrated her teenage opponent, who made a string of errors.
The Romanian reeled off five consecutive games across the second and third sets before sealing victory in just under two hours at Rod Laver Arena.
Meanwhile Hsieh Su-wei said she cares not whether she wins or loses her first Grand Slam quarterfinal against Naomi Osaka later this week after continuing her stunning run.
The unseeded 35-year-old from Taiwan has long been considered a doubles specialist but has developed a knack of knocking off top players in singles matches in recent years.
On Sunday, she added Czech 19th seed Marketa Vondrousova to the list with a 6-4 6-2 victory that ensured she would face US Open champion Osaka in an all-Asian quarterfinal.
She has played the big-hitting Japanese third seed four times with three of the encounters going to three sets, and Osaka admitted on Sunday that she was dreading the match.
Hsieh said she would probably get "smashed" by the three-times Grand Slam champion but was looking forward to testing her problem-solving skills.