Simona Halep of Romania returns the ball during the women's singles 3rd round match against Venus Williams of the United States at the Australian Open in Melbourne, Australia, Jan. 19, 2019. (Xinhua/Bai Xuefei)
MELBOURNE, Jan. 19 (Xinhua) -- After last year's defeat to Caroline Wozniacki in the final of the Australian Open, Simona Halep says she's "super motivated" to do one better at this year's tournament.
Taking on seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams in the third round on Saturday, the No. 1 put on a blinding performance, using her superior running game to outwork the American and take the contest 6-2, 6-3.
"I think I played smart, aggressive, and also I moved her a lot, so I think that's why I could win," Halep said.
The superb showing now sets up a fourth round battle with Venus's sister Serena Williams for a place in the quarterfinals.
Excited at the prospect of facing the 23-time Grand Slam champion, the Romanian told reporters. "I have just to enjoy, and to give my best," she said.
"I actually have nothing to lose -- I play against a great champion. It's going to be a bigger challenge, but I'm ready to face it."