Serena Williams’ quest for a record-tying 24th Grand Slam women’s singles title will have to wait. Again.
Williams battled back after losing the first set against Czech Republic’s Karolina Pliskova, coming back to win the second and take a commanding lead in the third, only for Pliskova to erase that lead and claim the victory in the Australian Open quarterfinals on Wednesday local time in Melbourne.
Pliskova opened with a 6-4 win only for Williams to take the second set 6-4. In the third, Williams then raced out to a 5-1 lead and was serving for the win only for Pliskova to come back and win the third set 7-5.
Pliskova moves on to the semifinals, where she will face Japan’s Naomi Osaka, who defeated Williams in the US Open final last summer.
Williams, 37, returned to the Australian Open for the first time since winning the tournament while eight weeks pregnant in 2017. She missed the next four Grand Slams while on maternity leave but returned to reach the fourth round at the 2018 French Open before finishing as runner-up at Wimbledon and the US Open. She was seeded 16th at this year’s Australian Open.
With Williams’ loss, unseeded Danielle Collins is the lone American in the singles semifinals in Melbourne. Collins has upset three ranked opponents so far, including second-seeded Angelique Kerber of Germany in the fourth round. She faces eighth-seeded Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic in the semifinals.