Serena Williams had looked good for a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam title after she had dumped world number one Simona Halep out of the tournament. However, her chances of securing the record ended after she lost 4-6,6-4,5-7 in another tough three-set match to Karolina Pliskova in the quarterfinal of the 2019 Australian Open. Serena had a 2-1 head-to-head record against the Czech player but this was her second loss in a Grand Slam tournament. Pliskova’s previous victory had come in the US Open but in the Australian Open, her win has ensured that Serena cannot achieve the record and will have to wait potentially until the French Open to create a slice of history.
The loss for Serena will be especially painful as she squandered four match points and blew a 5-1 lead in the third and final set to lose the last set 5-7 and crash out of the tournament. This summed up the situation for Serena, who could not capitalise on certain key moments in the match. In the third game of the first set, Serena’s forehand error resulted in Pliskova getting the first break of the match. The Czech player held on to take the set 4-6.
In the second set, both players exchanged breaks and at 3-3, Pliskova seemed to hold the advantage and at 5-4, Pliskova looked to stay in the game but Serena held her nerve and after four deuces, the American clinched the set to level the game. After Serena raced to a 5-1 lead in the final set, it seemed a mere formality but Pliskova broke the American’s game in the eighth game and in the 10th game, a couple of crucial unforced errors helped Pliskova level the game in style.
Serena let the pressure get to her and after serving up a fourth double fault, Pliskova broke again and sealed the game in style to set up a semi-final clash against Naomi Osaka. Speaking after the end of the match, Pliskova admitted that she was mentally down after trailing 1-5 but she pounced on Serena’s shaky serve to comeback in grand style.