Pliskova ‘played her best tennis ever’, says Serena post Australian Open ouster
27 January, 2019, 00:43 | Author: Lula Armstrong
After being defeated by Naomi Osaka in the US Open final when Williams called chair umpire Carlos Ramos a "thief" and accused him of sexism, the 23-time grand slam victor departed the Australian Open at the quarterfinal stage in dramatic circumstances.
The press and media outlets were certain to have been warming up their fingers to write up some juicy pieces about the upcoming grudge match between Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka in the semifinals of the Australian Open when the American was serving for the match at 5-1 up against Karolina Pliskova, but it was not to be.
When Williams struck a forehand into the net on her foe's third match point, a jubilant and probably disbelieving Pliskova officially advanced. She was broken in three consecutive service games as Pliskova grew from strength to strength and eventually won the match 6-4, 4-6, 7-5. "She played unbelievable on match points". I think she's beginning to play her best tennis again.
The 37-year-old American didn't call for a trainer during the match and later wouldn't blame the ankle for the way everything changed down the stretch, saying afterward that it "seems to be fine". One she hit an ace, unreturnable serve. In this picture, Williams of the USA serves against Czech Republic's Karolina Pliskova during their women's singles quarter-final match on Day-10 of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne, Jan. 23, 2019.
World No 1 Novak Djokovic reached the Australian Open semi-finals in a hurry as an ailing Kei Nishikori retired when losing 6-1, 4-1 after just 51 minutes.
Kvitova, who reached a career-high No.2 in 2011, must go one round better than Osaka for a chance of rising to No.1.
"I think the conditions with the roof closed were flawless for her". On one, the trajectory of a Pliskova second serve initially threatened a double fault but looped in to the world No. 8's relief. That hasn't happened, but I do like my attitude. "It doesn't matter. You just have to know what you're doing and she does".
Earlier in the day fourth seed Osaka of Japan had made short work of Ukraine's Elina Svitolina 6-4, 6-1. Halep showed her bounce back skills and dropped Serena in the second set (4-6).
She added the following game: "It's hard for me to think that that was the only foot fault of the match and it gets called on a match point".
With Serena out, it leaves three Top 10 players vying for the new world No. 1: Petra Kvitova (current No. 6), Naomi Osaka (4), in addition to Pliskova (6).
"I was nearly in the locker room but now stand here as the victor", she said. She's certainly got the game and the attitude to be able to take it to anyone.
The Ukrainian needed a similar medical timeout during her third-round match, but it was nevertheless a serious statement from the steely-eyed Osaka, who was playing the sort of tennis which drove her to the US Open title. As it is, he declared that he'll return to the clay-court circuit this year and participate in the French Open for the first time since 2015. I said, "I think you can make it".
Williams said there was nothing she could do against an opponent in such form.
Pliskova-after her awesome comeback in the match-took full advantage of Serena's collapse and put on an all-court aggression to grab her spot in the round of four. I didn't do anything wrong.
An eighth triumph in Melbourne would have seen her move level with the 44-year-old major wins record set by Margaret Court - but she lost in remarkable circumstances next door to the stadium named after the Australian. "Just keep soldiering on, I guess", she said. "I think she really gave it her all at that point".
On the women's side, all eyes will be on Serena Williams as she aims for Grand Slam number 24. 'There is more matches to win.
Nerves took hold as Osaka conceded a break to make it 5-5, smashing a ball into the ground and putting her hands over her ears. For Osaka, the victory made her the new No. 1 in the world, and the first Japanese player to ever rise to No. 1.
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