"She said "don't cry, you're still young. come on you don't have to cry", the Ukrainian said. "You did unbelievable. Don't cry". Yahoo reports that they then embraced and Williams patted the young tennis star on the back.
Williams said after the match that she could tell her opponent upset after the match. "I liked that. It showed that she wasn't just there to play the match, she was there to win". Halep wins most of her matches defensively and getting the best of long rallies, but Serena counters that with her power and hitting winners that can't be returned. "You did so well", Williams said. "It's good to see that attitude".
Williams will not need to spend any time enlightening Halep, who comfortably knocked out her elder sister Venus in straight sets 6-2, 6-3, thereby ensuring there would be no repeat of the 2017 final. "Only 12 errors. Unfortunately, I had nearly three times as many". Halep played with her left thigh taped, but moved around the court well. But she found the right gears against Venus.
Looking ahead, Halep said: "It's going to be a bigger challenge". I think either way, regardless, I'll be ready for either opponent.
Might Venus offer her sibling any tips?
"I honestly would love to face the World No. 1", Serena said.
"I'm happy with how I fought", she told reporters. Despite a reputation that precedes her when she walks onto center court, Williams is now ranked No. 16 in the world.
That resume pales in comparison to Serena's, of course.
Chasing her 24th Grand Slam title, Williams has conceded only nine games at the tournament and not dropped a set but may finally have a test when she plays the fourth round.
"I saw Patrick [Mouratoglou, Williams" coach] in the lift after this one and he said "that's the second opponent she's reduced to tears'. Young girls, young women, just want to go out there and do their best and want to win".
The 37-year-old blitzed past 18-year-old Dayana Yastremska of Ukraine 6-2 6-1 on Saturday.
Men's matchups Monday with a quarterfinal berth at stake will be: No. 1 Novak Djokovic against No. 15 Daniil Medvedev, and 2014 U.S. Open finalist Kei Nishikori against No. 23 Pablo Carreno-Busta. By the end of the first set, the teenager had 13 unforced errors, nine more than Williams.
Either way, Serena will get the best of Halep yet again.
Victory sets up a 10th meeting with Williams and first since the 2016 US Open, when the American recorded a fourth successive win over Halep.
Yastremska recalls swinging her racket in the living room at home while watching on TV aged eight as her favourite player competed. Both women have legitimate claims to being the top player in the game.
While Williams showed her humanity on court, she was less sure-footed when the subject of equal prize money came up, offering soundbites rather than detail. Her quality of the shots.
Alyssa Roenigk is a senior writer for ESPN The Magazine and ESPN.com whose assignments have taken her to six continents and caused her to commit countless acts of recklessness. "She (is) completely different". I should know about this, but I don't know about this to comment on it'.