Serena Williams squandered four match points and blew a 5-1 lead in the decider as seventh seed Karolina Pliskova produced a stunning fightback to claim a 6-4 4-6 7-5 quarter-final victory over the American at the Australian Open on Wednesday.
Williams, chasing a milestone 24th Grand Slam triumph, also saved two match points in the last game but netted on the third as the big-serving Czech shocked a packed Rod Laver Arena with her remarkable rally from the brink of defeat.
Pliskova advances to meet Naomi Osaka for a place in the final, denying Williams the chance to avenge her controversial U.S. Open title match defeat to the Japanese fourth seed.
“She improved her game in the second set. She was playing very well, went for her shots. I was a bit passive,” an elated Pliskova said in a post-match interview.
“My mind wasn’t in the locker room, I was still here. I was a bit passive. But I said ‘let’s try this game’. I took my chances and I won.
“I am happy I get to play two days in a row. Osaka’s dangerous but I don’t think anyone is more dangerous than Serena. So I will enjoy this one.”
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