Roger Federer will not be losing any sleep over whether rival Rafael Nadal can match his men’s record of 20 grand slam singles titles, according to his long-term coach Severin Luthi.
Serena Williams has crashed out of the Australian Open, blowing four match points in a three-set quarter-final loss to seventh-seeded Czech Karolina Pliskova.
Seventh-seeded Pliskova rallied from 5-1 down in a tense deciding set to advance to her first semi-final at Melbourne Park with a 6-4 4-6 7-5 victory over the American on Wednesday.
On Williams’s first match point, in the seventh game of the third set, the American was called for a foot-fault.
Compounding the misery, Williams lost the point when she jarred her ankle during play – and then the game, which proved a turning point as Pliskova stormed through the next five games to seal an unlikely victory.
Pliskova admitted she thought her tournament was over.
“I was almost in the locker-room but now I am standing here as a winner – it is a very good feeling,” Pliskova said after the two-hour, 10-minute battle on Rod Laver Arena.
“She was playing very well, especially at the end of the second set. She went for her shots and she was aggressive and I played too passive.
“I said, ‘Let’s try this game 5-2, maybe I will have a couple of chances’. She got a little bit shaky in the end so I took my chances and I won.”
The Czech will play Japanese fourth seed and reigning US Open champion Naomi Osaka in Thursday’s semi-finals, while Williams remains stranded one grand slam shy of Margaret Court’s all-time record 24 major singles titles.
Pliskova is unbeaten this year after winning the season-opening Brisbane International.
The loss once again dashes Williams’ hopes in Melbourne of matching Court’s long-standing record after the 37-year-old also fell just short at Wimbledon and the US Open as a beaten finalist.
Pliskova’s previous best grand slam result was a loss in the 2016 US Open final to Angelique Kerber, while she’s never previously gone further than the quarter-finals at Melbourne Park.