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2021 Australian Open: Serena Williams digs deep to beat Arina Sabalenka; reaches the quarterfinals

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Serena Williams hits a forehand against Arina Sabalenka in Melbourne on Sunday.

Serena Williams returned to the quarterfinals of the Australian Open, ahead of No. 7 Arina Sabalenka in three sets.

The 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 victory put Williams one step closer to her record 24th Grand Slam title overall and eighth in Melbourne Park.

Her last major trophy came at the 2017 Australian Open.

It was Williams’ 62nd game in the fourth round of a major tournament – and Sabalenka’s second.

They played a similar brand of powerful tennis, but Williams was barely better, stealing the last two games after what was a 4-1 lead in the final set evaporated.

The 39-year-old American then faces Simona Halep or Iga Suatek.

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