Australian Open: Karolina Pliskova stages huge comeback to defeat Serena Williams

Karolina Pliskova waves after defeating Williams

Karolina Pliskova waves after defeating Williams

Seven-time Australian Open champion Serena Williams said she lost her quarter-final match to Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic, because her opponent was at her best.

Like Osaka, Pliskova will be playing in the Australian Open semi-finals for the first time and is one victory from appearing in her second Grand Slam final, following defeat by Germany's Angelique Kerber in the 2016 US Open.

Williams, seeded 16th, played down an ankle injury which she suffered during the rally on her first match point when serving at 5-1, 40-30. Williams didn't win a single point on her serve after she hurt her ankle, but refused to blame it for her loss.

On her part, Pliskova who ousted Serena Williams in the quarter-final said she was satisfied with the game she played and congratulated Osaka for her performance. 'She literally played her best tennis ever on those shots'.

- Williams hasn't won any of the four Slams she has entered since having a baby in September 2017, equaling her longest gap since a six-major drought from 2007-08. Despite never getting out of the first round in his past five appearances at the Australian Open, the world number 31 now finds himself just one match away from the tournament final.

Novak Djokovic was delighted to get back into the semi-finals at the Australian Open after missing out for two years as Kei Nishikori retired injured on Wednesday. I knew I'm going to have my chances. "I just think she was just nailing and hitting shots". Standing at a towering 6-foot-1, Pliskova is one of the quickest servers in the game, but it's her ability to produce huge power on her ground strokes, in spite of her lanky figure, that makes her a potent threat.

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"You don't really feel", Pliskova said, "like you're going to win this match".

Pliskova took her opportunity magnificently, and could yet end the week as the Australian Open champion and world number one.

How? He changed to a larger racket head, began using a flat backhand more often and invented a new way of challenging opponents' second serves. The former world No. 1, seeded 16th in Australia after an up-and-down 2018 season in which she made her way back from an extremely hard childbirth, failed to convert four match points while falling to the seventh-seeded Pliskova.

In the other semi-final, the Czech Petra Kvitova, and surprisingly, the American Danielle Collins.

When Djokovic broke again to go 4-1 ahead it proved the last straw for Nishikori's courageous challenge. She's certainly got the game and the attitude to be able to take it to anyone.

But Osaka first faces an in-form Elina Svitolina, who made it to this stage thanks to a pair of three-set wins in the past two rounds, including the last against Madison Keys.

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"I'm very happy", Pouille said. Williams, whose movement was hampered after she strained her ankle, said she was willing herself to fightback. "Not that it would be bad for me, but she just loved it maybe little bit more", Pliskova said.

"I think anything is possible".

Osaka will carry a 12-match Grand Slam winning streak into the semifinals.

Returning to action past year after giving birth to daughter Alexis Olympia in September 2017, Williams impressively made finals at Wimbledon and the US Open, falling to Angelique Kerber and Osaka, respectively.

It was the 21-year-old's second straight grand slam semi-final after her triumph at Flushing Meadows, and she is the first Japanese woman in the final four at Melbourne Park since Kimoko Date in 1994. "For me right now I just try to keep looking forward". I think it's not really easy to play quarterfinal of the slams at home.

"I'm a ghost, you don't see me!" "There are more matches to win".

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