Serena comes through major Halep battle to reach last eight

Highlights Tiafoe marks birthday with win over Dimitrov

Highlights Tiafoe marks birthday with win over Dimitrov

She went for her serves. The match was on.

"After third game or fourth game when I was serving, my right leg felt heavy".

'I literally did everything I could on those points. She shrugged it off.

Williams serving at 5-3, 0-15 Williams serves another double fault. Halep would not be denied a final set after Serena knocked her backhand long as the Romanian, her fans, and the whole arena celebrated as they were in for a final set shootout. Points were piling up, all in favor of Pliskova.

"I can't say I choked on those match points".

Meanwhile, Serena didn't win another point on serve after the ankle roll.

Williams' serve disintegrated as Pliskova, with the help of a forehand victor for 0-40, broke to love again which left her serving for the match. She twisted her left ankle on the next point and dumped a forehand into the net and went go on to cede that game.

"This is when you go psycho, when you have match point. just go bananas on it", she said. "I didn't do that really well in the last two rounds and I did that today so I'm really happy with the way I played".

She has been a regular in the second week of Grand Slams in recent years, reaching the quarters or better six times since late 2016, but is still searching for a breakthrough win.

"I mean, the big picture for me is always winning". I like to just kind of tough it out, so to say. I just said whatever.

"I know that I can challenge good players and I can win", she said. I don't usually know until the next day.

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'It's going to happen. She was already match point up in that 5-1 game. "Just keep taking it one match at a time, just keep soldiering on, I guess".

"I saw a chance and I just took it". Lots of things happen. She did not start well and her mistakes were mounting and deficit was growing.

Williams' match against Halep was one of the most entertaining matches of the tournament so far.

The nerve-jangling win booked the tall Czech her first Melbourne semi-finals and she will meet U.S. Open champion Naomi Osaka for a place in the title-decider. It's a miracle I'm here and I get to do something I enjoy. "Different conditions here. I think I'm playing a little bit better than previous year, so I'm looking forward to it". "I'm not going to sit here and lie about that". The most recent meeting was in Tokyo of 2018, a match Pliskova won in straight sets.

World No. 1 Djokovic enjoyed an early night when courageous Kei Nishikori retired with a thigh strain when losing 6-1, 4-1 after going through three five-set epics during the tournament. But the battle was lost.

Nerves have been an issue at times for her in the past, especially at the slams, although it's something she continues to work on.

MELBOURNE, Jan 22 ― Most players would feel intimidated facing a rampaging Serena Williams for an Australian Open semi-final berth but not Czech seventh seed Karolina Pliskova, who instead harbours a desire for revenge against the American great. "Unfortunately I couldn't produce 100% the game that I wanted".

"This is I think not happening often, maybe once in life", she said later.

The semifinal Thursday line-up is set. And then Osaka will take on Brisbane victor Pliskova.

The pair will now take on reigning Australian Open champions Timea Babos from Hungary and Frenchwoman Kristina Mladenovic in the final.

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