Just 24 hours after saving four match points to stun Serena Williams, Karolina Pliskova goes up against US Open champion Naomi Osaka for a place in Saturday’s Australian Open final.
The Czech showed incredible mental strength to overcome the 23-times grand slam champion in a dramatic contest on Rod Laver Arena after slipping 5-1 down in the deciding set to eventually win through 6-4, 4-6, 7-5.
Pliskova’s victory earned her a semi-final appearance against Osaka and thereby denied the tennis world of a rematch of the US Open final.
Osaka has been quietly going about her own business, dropping just two sets over the last 11 days. The Japanese demolished WTA Finals champion Elina Svitolina for the loss of five games in her quarter-final on Wednesday night. It extended her grand slam run to 12 matches and she will certainly be the fresher of the two for their contest.
Pliskova has the edge in their head-to-heads, winning two of their three matches including their most recent in the final of Tokyo last September when Osaka was still riding high after her maiden major breakthrough – albeit one in controversial circumstances.
This is also uncharted territory for both woman at the Aussie Open with Pliskova going one round better than her back-to-back quarter-final appearances in 2017 and 2018.
Osaka, meanwhile, has gone even deeper than her best of last year when she suffered a fourth-round loss to eventual finalist Simona Halep.