Serena stunned in Aussie quarterfinals

Serena Williams failed to close out Karolina Pliskova on four match points Wednesday and lost their Australian Open quarterfinal match 6-4, 4-6, 7-5 at Melbourne Park.
It all seemed to turn on a foot fault and a twisted ankle.
Up 5-1 in the third set and serving for the match at 40-30, Williams was called for a foot fault. On the next point, she twisted her left ankle and hit a shot into the net, going on to lose the game. Pliskova didn’t lose again.
“I was almost in the locker room,” Pliskova said, “but now I’m standing here as the winner.”
It all seemed unlikely for Williams, a seven-time Aussie Open champion playing for a record-tying 24th Grand Slam title, but she wasn’t willing to blame an injury for the collapse.
In fact, she didn’t even call for a trainer, saying, “I didn’t feel like I needed it and didn’t feel like it would be a big deal, so I just kept going.”
Williams added, “My ankle seems to be fine. I usually don’t know until the next day.”
The No. 16 seed started slowly against No. 7 Pliskova, still seeking her first Grand Slam title. After dropping the first set, Williams was down 3-2 when things started clicking and she won nine of the next 11 games.
But the 26-year-old Czech player would hang on as Williams served for the match at 5-3 and again at 5-all. For Williams’ part, she gave some credit to Pliskova when things were over.
“I didn’t do anything wrong,” she said. “I just stayed aggressive, and she just literally hit the lines on some of them. And one, she hit an ace or an unreturnable serve.
“I literally did everything I could on those match points. It’s not like I — yeah, I can’t say that I choked on those match points. She literally played her best tennis ever on those shots.”
Pliskova next will oppose fourth-seeded Naomi Osaka of Japan after Osaka dispatched sixth-seeded Elina Svitolina of Ukraine 6-4, 6-1. The other semifinal will pit eighth-seeded Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic against American Danielle Collins.
Kvitova beat 15th-seeded Ashleigh Barty of Australia 6-1, 6-4. Collins beat Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 2-6, 7-5, 6-1.
–Field Level Media

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