It rarely happens that Serena Williams has a 5-1 lead in the third set and that her opponent recovers, but that’s exactly what Karolina Pliskova did in the Australian Open quarterfinals, retaining her perfect win-loss record in 2019 with a 6-4 4-6 7-5 victory on Wednesday.
We are used to seeing Serena coming back from the brink of defeat, but the American rarely let’s that scenario happen to her opponents. Today in Melbourne, however, the seventh-seeded Pliskova won the last six games of their quarterfinal and capitalized on her third match point, after Williams wasted four of her own, not being able to handle Pliskova’s power and precision in those crucial moments.
Pliskova had led by a set and a break at 3-2, when the 16th-seeded Williams took charge and seemed to be racing to victory by winning nine out of ten games. The American then rolled her left ankle during the rally on her first match point, when serving at 5-1, and since that moment she won no points on her serve, but after the match the 23-time Grand Slam champion said that the loss had nothing to do with that incident, rather, her opponent “played unbelievable on match points”, “was hitting lines” and “played really well”.
Pliskova’s opponent in the semifinals will be fourth seed Naomi Osaka, the reigning US Open champion who has been at least in the semifinals at four of her last five tournaments. The Japanese defeated sixth seed Elina Svitolina 6-4 6-1 earlier on Wednesday in Melbourne. The other Australian Open semifinal will be contested between eighth seed Petra Kvitova and unseeded Danielle Collins.