Eurosport expert Annabel Croft has lauded the intensity of Serena Williams after she overcame Aryna Sabalenka at the Australian Open and played brilliantly.
The 23-time Grand Slam winner, chasing Margaret Court’s Slam record of 24 singles titles, remarkably reached a 54th Grand Slam quarter-final in the process.
Croft was wowed by the efforts of both players, but explained why she felt Serena had the edge, and now remains a huge threat for the title in Melbourne.
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"Sabalenka will have learnt a lot against one of the greatest players who has ever played this game," Croft said on commentary.
"It was a case of relief and exhaustion for Serena Williams, but my goodness did she play a great tennis match.
"I think that will give her huge amounts of confidence. To play against someone with that much power and who is so incredibly dangerous, she stood up to it.
"She was moving so well and defending better than we've seen for a while. The serve wasn't at its best, but she certainly found it when she really, really needed it.
Her returns today were absolutely breathtaking. The intensity of this match was extraordinary. Her experience shone through.

Serena: 'Having Venus around is amazing' in Melbourne

Serena Williams spoke about how much she enjoys having her sister Venus on tour with her after the match, and Croft believes their relationship has been invaluable for both of them.
"Her and Venus have been a phenomenal team that have supported each other throughout their careers, and I think they do need each other.
"It's been a wonderful relationship to watch flourish."
Fellow Eurosport expert Tim Henman added of Serena: "She still has one of the best serves in the game and that always gives her a great chance."
Next up for Serena will be a quarter-final clash against either 2020 French Open champion Iga Swiatek or second seed Simona Halep.

Highlights: Serena shows class in overcoming Sabalenka

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