Serena Williams was dumped out of the Australian Open semi-finals on Wednesday as Karolina Pliskova saved four match points in a remarkable comeback win.
Having trailed by a set and a break, Williams looked to have powered her way out of trouble when she moved 5-1 ahead in the deciding set.
But, incredibly, Pliskova won six games in a row to set up a last-four clash with Naomi Osaka, saving one match point at 5-1 and three more at 5-4 to win 6-4 4-6 7-5 and reach her first semi-final in Melbourne.
The Czech was rewarded for her bravery on the big points while Williams appeared to struggle with her movement after jarring her left ankle on the first match point.
Pliskova, who is in the running to finish the tournament as world No 1, said: “I was almost in the locker room but now I’m standing here as a winner so it’s a very good feeling. My mind was in the locker room. It was tough because she was really playing well.
“I was a little bit passive, mentally down. I just said at 5-2 maybe I’m going to have a chance. She got a little bit shaky, I took my chances and I won.”
Osaka extended her winning Grand Slam run to 12 matches with a dominant victory over Elina Svitolina.
The US Open champion has taken the increase in expectation and attention in her stride and needed only an hour and 12 minutes to wrap up a 6-4 6-1 win against the sixth seed.
Speaking on court, Osaka said: “I tried to be consistent, or as consistent as I can. She’s a really great player. It’s kind of unfortunate that she got injured. Playing against her even if she was injured was still really tough.
“I just had one goal, which was to try as hard as I can and not get angry, I think I did it really well so I’m very happy.”