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Tennis

Australian Open: Williams hails Pliskova comeback

Happy girl: Karolina Pliskova came back from the brink to beat Serena Williams.
Happy girl: Karolina Pliskova came back from the brink to beat Serena Williams. Reuters/Steve Holland

Serena Williams hailed Karolina Pliskova on Wednesday for a six-game streak that ended the American's hopes of winning a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam singles title.

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Thirty-seven-year old Williams led 5-1 in the final set of her quarter-final against the seventh seed. But she failed to take four match points as the Czech came back from the brink to clinch the set 7-5.

"She just played lights out on match point, literally hitting lines," Williams said. "She just went for it, just went crazy on match point. She just played unbelievable."

Pliskova described the exploit as the best comeback of her life. She will now play Naomi Osaka for a place in the final.

"I know Serena is the greatest ever. But I don't want to put her somewhere where I would not have a chance to beat her.

"I beat her before. She was No.1 at that time. I knew I was going to have my chances. But I had to play well.

"At one point she was killing me. I was almost in the locker room. I wasn't playing very well in the third set. She got a little bit shaky in the end so I took my chances and I won."

Osaka, the fourth seed, swatted aside the sixth seed Elina Svitolina 6-4, 6-1 in 72 minutes to reach the last four in Melbourne for the first time.

The US Open champion has lost two of her three matches against Pliskova.

"Naomi's dangerous," said Pliskova of their impending battle. "But nobody is more dangerous than Serena."

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