Serena Williams was one serve away from victory, one point from creating a semi-final rematch against Naomi Osaka who was the US Open champion in 2018. The crowd was beginning to thin inside the Rod Laver Arena, as Williams managed to come back from a breakdown and a set against Karolina Pliskova, who is currently ranked 7th in the world, to take a seemingly unconquerable 5-1 lead during the third set. Serena needed one point, and the match would have been over. However, this was unfortunately not the case.
Serena’s Mistakes During Her Match Against Karolina
While she was serving, Williams was called due to a foot fault. During her second serve, Williams managed to end a 7-shot rally when she rolled her ankle and hit her forehand into the net which pushed the match to deuce. Williams also double-faulted during her next serve and managed to lose the match on an unforced backhand error. After she suffered difficult losses in the finals at the US Open and Wimbledon, it seemed quite impossible for Williams to give away another opportunity to claim her 24th Grand Slam title. Obviously, she was going to settle.
However, for the remainder of the game, Williams seemed out of step, stunned, and unable to refocus herself to come back in the game. Once Karolina Pliskova realised that she had Serena on her heels, she decided to pounce. “I was more aggressive and decided to push her,” Pliskova stated following her 6-4, 4-6, 7-5 victory. “This does not happen very often, perhaps once in a lifetime. So I decided to go for it. I had the perfect opportunity, and I decided to push her until the end.”
Surprisingly, Williams managed to lose her last 11 points on serves, while the former number 1 managed to save three more match points and claimed the next five games and the overall match to secure her place in the semi-finals of the Australian Open for the first time in her entire tennis career. This match between Williams and Pliskova will either be remembered as one of the best comebacks in Australian Open history, or it will be remembered as one of William’s biggest collapses in her career. To be honest, it was both.
Serena’s Goal is Shattered
Since she made her return to tennis following a 15-month maternity break, Williams had one goal in mind for her career: to add to her Grand Slam total and finally break the all-time record. However, after coming extremely close in three or her four attempts during the past ten months and following a gut-wrenching defeat against Pliskova, you have to wonder if Williams still thinks that goal is achievable.
She lacked confidence during her game against Pliskova, while Pliskova started her day by playing aggressively and fearlessly against Williams. Even though Pliskova started making mistakes towards the end, it was already too late for Williams to make a return. Pliskova saw an opening, and she took it. Let’s see how she performs in the semi-finals.