Naomi Osaka lay in wait if she could get past Karolina Pliskova in Wednesday's quarter final, but the 37-year-old American could not keep up her side of the bargain, losing a 5-1 lead to go down 6-4, 4-6, 7-5 in two hours and 10 minutes.
|Williams held out her hands and looked up to the sky with a look of exasperation on her face (Image: AAPIMAGE)|
'I think she improved her game in the second set and went for her shots,' said a delighted Pliskova, the best player never to have won a Grand Slam.
|Karolina Pliskova saved four match points to book her place in the Australian Open semi-finals|
'It was tough, I didn't have many chances in the third set. At 5-2 I thought I got a couple of chances and she got a little bit shaky at the end.
'I will be ready for tomorrow, Naomi has had a great run but I don't think anyone is more dangerous than Serena.'
|Serena Williams had looked in control before a late collapse saw her exit the Melbourne Slam|
Pliskova broke early and could easily have done so again for 4-1 but could only take one of her five break points. Her serve guided her to a set lead, with Williams making sloppy errors at 4-5 when she might have applied more pressure.
|Pliskova raised her racket above her head as she celebrated one of the best wins of her career|
She then played a poor service game to be broken back for love and change the momentum. Williams began moving into the net more and gaining success by abruptly shifting the direction of the ball in the rallies. She forced another break to take the set, wrongfooting her opponent into a backhand error on the set point.
|Williams shook hands with Pliskova at the net before making a swift departure from court|
A footfault on match point saw Pliskova regain one of her lost breaks as the nominal No 16 seed slightly tweaked her left ankle during a baseline rally. After that it all feel apart as the Czech clawed her way back, but with Williams still able to run it was startling that she could still not close it out against a sometimes nervy opponent. In the end she committed 37 unforced errors.
|It took seven-time champions Williams a while to get into her stride on Rod Laver Arena|
|Pliskova was pumped up during the opening set and let out a big roar after winning a point|
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