Australian Open 2019: Simona Halep beats Venus Williams to reach last 16

Top seed Simona Halep set up a highly anticipated Australian Open last-16 tie against Serena Williams by beating the American's older sister Venus.

Simona Halep
Simona Halep

The 27-year-old Romanian eased to a 6-2 6-3 victory, winning in straight sets for the first time at this year's tournament in Melbourne.

Seven-time champion Williams, 37, reached the last 16 by thrashing 18-year-old Ukrainian Dayana Yastremska.

"It's going to be a bigger challenge but I'm ready to face it," said Halep.

The Romanian says she has "nothing to lose" against the 23-time Grand Slam champion, who is aiming to match Australian Margaret Court's all-time record of major triumphs.

Williams has won eight of their nine previous matches, with their last meeting coming at the US Open in 2016.

Since then, Halep has won her first Grand Slam title, having triumphed at last year's French Open.