Simona Halep Faces “Bigger Challenge” after Beating Venus Williams at Australian Open

Top seed Simona Halep set up a highly-anticipated Australian Open last-16 match with Serena Williams by beating the American’s older sister Venus.

The 27-year-old Romanian eased to a 6-2 6-3 victory, winning in straight sets for the first time at this year’s tournament.

Seven-time champion Williams reached the last 16 by thrashing Ukraine’s Dayana Yastremska.

“It’s going to be a bigger challenge but I’m ready to face it,” said Halep.

The Romanian says she has “nothing to lose” against the 23-time Grand Slam champion, who is aiming to match Australian Margaret Court’s all-time record of major triumphs.

Williams has won eight of their nine previous matches, with their last meeting coming at the 2016 US Open.

But since then Halep has won her first Grand Slam title, having triumphed at last year’s French Open.