Seventh seed Karolina Pliskova will not be fazed by the prospect of this Australian Open quarter-final against seven-time champion Serena Williams in Melbourne.
Williams dropped just nine games in her opening three rounds before Simona Halep took her the distance at the Rod Laver Arena. Halep said it had felt “like I had been hit by the train” as the 37-year-old Williams continued her march towards a record-equalling 24th major title.
But Pliskova has pedigree, having beaten Williams 6-2, 7-6 in the semi-final of the 2016 US Open – before losing in three to Angelique Kerber in the final, and the 26-year-old Czech feels her game has come on since Williams beat her at Flushing Meadows back in September.
“I didn’t play well that match, so for sure it would be good revenge to play her again,” Pliskova said. “Different conditions here. I think I’m playing a little bit better than last year, so I’m looking forward to it.”
Williams was wary of the Pliskova serve as she targets Margaret Court’s all-time record of 24 majors:
“I’ve got to return a little bit better (against her) but I’ll be ready. She’s ready. Let’s do it,” said Williams.