MELBOURNE: Second seed Simona Halep survived an early wobble to beat Iga Swiatek 3-6 6-1 6-4 in the Australian Open fourth round on Sunday as the Romanian avenged her shock defeat by the Polish teenager at the same stage of last year’s French Open. After an error-prone opening set, Halep reeled off five consecutive games across the second and third sets before sealing her 100th Grand Slam match win to set up an eagerly anticipated quarter-final clash with Serena Williams. 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. World number two 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. Halep, who committed 10 of her 17 unforced errors in the opening set, said she initially struggled to cope with Swiatek’s powerful forehands. Ahead of her quarter-final against Williams, Halep can draw confidence from their previous meeting when she secured only her second win over the American to claim the 2019 Wimbledon title. Williams stormed into the quarter-finals with a gritty 6-4 2-6 6-4 victory over Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka. The match was a big test for Williams, who was up against one of the few players on the women’s tour capable of matching her power from behind the baseline. “I’m happy to get through that one,” Williams said in an on-court interview. “It wasn’t easy and I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. She was teeing off on every shot. “Even the games that I lost were super close, one shot here and one shot there, and I just felt like, ‘Serena you’ve got this, you’ve just got to keep going.’” The players went toe-to-toe in an even first set until Williams pounced late to break Sabalenka for the first time and take a 1-0 lead. The roles were reversed at the start of the second, however, with Sabalenka breaking Williams in her first two service games. The American, who is chasing a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam title, clawed a break back but was powerless in the face of Sabalenka’s onslaught as the seventh seed broke once more for a 4-1 lead before sending the match into a decider.