Serena Williams wasted four match-points and blew off a 5-1 lead in the final to go down to seventh seeded Karolina Pliskova in her 2019 Australian Open quarter-final on Wednesday.
Serving for the match at 5-1, Serena had raced off to a 40-15 lead but double-faulted at that stage and twisted her ankle. Struggling to move after that, Pliskova took advantage of Serena’s injury and scythed through to a 7-5 win in the set.
Earlier, Pliskova had won the first set and looked like things were going her way when she broke Serena early in the second. However, the former American world number one and 2017 champion broke back and then for the second time to level the match at a set apiece.
The momentum looked to have shifted drastically in the final set when Williams went on a serve-breaking spree, winning two games on her opponent’s serve.
However, things turned dramatically while serving for the match in the seventh game of the third set. She dropped that game and was broken for the second time leaving Pliskova to serve it to level at 5-5.
In the 10th game of the set, Pliskova was down 15-40 yet again, giving Serena two more match-points which were she failed to convert again. The Czech then broke Serena again and served it out to win the Australian Open quarter-final 6-4, 4-6, 7-5.
Pliskova later admitted she had almost given up by the sixth game of the final set.
“I played too passive. On the one hand I was (almost) in the locker room, now I’m standing here. It’s a good feeling. My mind was in the locker room … She was really playing well.”
Pliskova will now take on Naomi Osaka who ran away to a straight-set win over Elina Svitolina in the previous quarter-final.