Tuesday, 12 November, 2019

AO: Serena Williams collapsed in the quarters, path to No.1 open

Australian Open: Serena Williams and Milos Raonic crash out, Novak Djokovic advances Djokovic into Open semi-final after injured Nishikori retires
Shannon Reynolds | 26 January, 2019, 19:08

In a stunning turn of events, the 23-time women's singles Grand Slam victor lost her serve in three consecutive games and failed to convert four match points before going on to lose the quarterfinal match against the number seven seed 6-4, 4-6, 7-5.

The American had beaten world No 1 Simona Halep in the fourth round but folded against the big-serving Czech seventh seed, who saved four match points before winning 6-4, 4-6, 7-5 under the hot Melbourne sun. Williams didn't win a single point on her serve after she hurt her ankle, but refused to blame it for her loss. 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.

"It was tough. If there was a day in between these two matches, it would have been be helpful for me", she said. I think she's beginning to play her best tennis again.

Williams, who didn't call for a trainer after what appeared to be a strain, said her ankle was fine, but added that she wouldn't know for sure until the next day.

Osaka was immensely praised after her US Open victory - not only for defeating Serena Williams but also for the composure and calmness she showed during all the drama that unfolded on the court. This time, it was surprising to see her let a sizeable lead vanish.

Holding match point at 5-1, Williams was called for a foot fault and then lost a rally with a forehand into the net.

Novak Djokovic playing against Kei Nishikori at the Australian Open on 23 January 2019. "Of course, I wasn't fresh but I thought I was going to be okay".

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"I think the conditions with the roof closed were ideal for her". She had three more chances to close in the 10thgame on her opponent's serve. That hasn't happened, but I do like my attitude. "She was No.1 at that time", she said.

Naomi Osaka said keeping her temper in check had helped her seal a comfortable 6-4 6-1 win over sixth seed Elina Svitolina to reach the Australian Open semi-finals. From there, she immediately earned her first break point of the match and converted it to get to 3-all, beginning a run in which she claimed nine of 11 games. "Obviously I made some mistakes but she played really well after that".

Surprise semi-finalist Danielle Collins' cousin flew all the way from Minnesota to be in her box for her quarter-final match against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. He retired down 6-1, 4-1.

With the tight point spread amongst Osaka, Kvitova, and Pliskova, there is a good possibility that Saturday's final could be a match for both the title and for the No.1 ranking. Pouille, who is coached by two-time major champion Amelie Mauresmo, had been 0-5 for his career at the Australian Open until last week. "She went to the balls and was aggressive, I was passive", said Pliskova.

At first, Serena struggled to find her game, losing the opening set after Pliskova gained a decisive advantage breaking the opponent's serve for 2-1. The 26-year-old Czech player impressively broke Williams' serve and won six straight games to earn her first appearance in the Australian Open semifinals. She had reached the last four of the French Open in 2017, and the farthest she had gone to winning a title was at the final of the 2016 US Open, which she lost to Kerber.

"It was unfortunate for Serena and I think she was actually thinking of her foot". Keys, Stephens and Venus are out, but Serena Wiliams and Naomi Osaka are one win away from a rematch. "It's something that definitely gives me even more motivation to come back and keep on trying".

'For me, right now, I just try to keep looking forward. "There are more matches to win".

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