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Aussie Open: Serena Crashes Out, Djokovic Eases Through To Semifinal

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Serena Williams has suffered one of the biggest implosions in Australian Open history to crash out in the quarter-finals.

The 23-time grand slam champ had one foot in the semi-finals, yesterday, before a monumental meltdown against Karolina Pliskova.

Serena served for the match at 5-1 in the third set, before Pliskova somehow saved four match points and reeled off six-straight games to snatch victory 6-4 4-6 7-5.

“I was almost in the locker-room but now I am standing here as a winner – it is a very good feeling,” Pliskova said after the two-hour, 10-minute battle on Rod Laver Arena.

“She was playing very well, especially at the end of the second set. She went for her shots and she was aggressive and I played too passive.

“I said, ‘Let’s try this game 5-2, maybe I will have a couple of chances’. She got a little bit shaky in the end so I took my chances and I won.”

The Czech will play Japanese fourth seed and reigning US Open champion Naomi Osaka in Thursday’s semi-finals, while Williams remains stranded one grand slam shy of Margaret Court’s all-time record 24 major singles titles.

The loss once again dashes Williams’ hopes in Melbourne of matching Court’s long-standing record after the 37-year-old also fell just short at Wimbledon and the US Open as a beaten finalist.

Pliskova’s previous best grand slam result was a loss in the 2016 US Open final to Angelique Kerber, while she’s never previously gone further than the quarter-finals at Melbourne Park.

Meanwhile, Kei Nishikori has been forced to withdraw from his Australian Open quarter-final, handing world No.1 Novak Djokovic the simplest of passages into the last four at Melbourne Park.

Djokovic will face unlikely French semi-finalist Lucas Pouille for the chance to return to the final for the first time since 2016.

And he’ll be well rested after a 52-minute hit-out on Rod Laver Arena that barely represented a tennis match, let alone a grand slam quarter final.

The Japanese ace was troubled by a thigh injury from early in their clash.

After losing the first set 6-1, Nishikori took a lengthy medical timeout and had his leg strapped as he tried to continue.

 

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