Karolína Plíšková beats Serena Williams in Australian Open quarter final
Karolína Plíšková has beaten Serena Williams in a thrilling Australian Open quarter final. Williams led the final set 5-1, before a physical and literal collapse saw her eventually lose the match.
The Czech won the first set 6-4, Serena took the second 6-4, before Plíšková went on to win the final set 7-5, after Serena rolled her ankle heavily.
Williams not only led the final set 5-1, but also threw away four match points. A foot fault at match point in the middle of the set led to Williams rolling her ankle, before Plíšková broke again to make it 4-5.
Another two missed match points followed, before Plíšková served to love and powered through to win. Plíšková will now face Naomi Osaka for a spot in the final.
The injury clearly affected William’s game, but the American refused to blame it. Without incurring the rolled ankle, which clearly hampered her movement, it looked certain that Williams would have headed into the semi-final.
Williams beat World No 1 to reach the quarter final
This defeat will be particularly difficult to swallow, since Williams made her way to this quarter final after beating world No 1, Simona Halep, in a thrilling match on Monday. This was the first time Williams has faced a world number one in over 2000 days.
Serena dominated that match early on to take the first set 6-1. However, Halep hit back in the second, forcing Williams to cover more of the court to devastating effect. Williams started to look sluggish at this stage in the match, as Halep controlled the game.
She looked to almost have lost it in the third. Halep forced her opponent to a fifth deuce with the score at 3-2. Serena, however, held her nerve, and broke back to eventually win the final set 6-4.
After the match, the American hailed Halep’s performance:
It was a really intense match, with some incredible points. It’s just great to be back out playing again on this court. I really needed to elevate my game. She’s the No 1 player in the world and there’s a reason why. I’m such a fighter. I never give up. It’s definitely something that’s innate. I work so hard and it’s just a miracle that I’m here. I keep trying, fighting for every point.–Serena Williams, Tennis player