Fast-rising tennis women’s sensation, Pole Magda Linette will play in her first Grand Slam semifinal after defeating former world No.1 Karolina Pliskova at the Australian Open on Wednesday.
She will face Aryna Sabalenka in the semifinals on Friday.
In her 30th major main draw appearance, the world No.45, Linette, threw her arms over her head in disbelief after she completed the 6-3 7-5 victory over the more illustrious rival.
Linette thus became the third Polish woman in seven years, after world No.1 Iga Swiatek and Agnieszka Radwanska – who cheered on from her box – to reach an Australian Open semifinal.
“I will never forget this,” Linette said enthusiastically.
“It’s the first time ever I’m breaking through… (These are) difficult things for me. I mean, this will stay with me for life, so I’m really grateful.”
Two-time major finalist Pliskova had spent less time on the court than any of her quarterfinal peers.
A wrist injury cost her a start in last year’s Australian Open and she had not reached the quarterfinals in 17 of her past 21 events.
While her ranking had subsequently plummeted to world No.31, her lowest mark since 2014, there was no dodging the attention when a major semifinal was on the line against an opponent whom she had beaten in seven of their nine meetings.
Pliskova had also enjoyed a far smoother path to this stage. Yet to drop a set and broken only three times all tournament, she defeated Zhang Shuai in just 55 minutes in the fourth round.
However, the 45th-ranked Linette had grown into a vastly different prospect in the past 12 months.
Pliskova’s 36 unforced errors were particularly damaging, given her opponent committed only 16.
Linette took it to the Czech, winning 71 per cent of points on her opponent’s second serve and winning 50 of 80 rallies under five shots.
The Pole is assured of a new career-best ranking of world No.22, following her maiden major semifinal.
Linette is yet to defeat fifth seed Aryna Sabalenka, in previous meetings.
The Czech, Pliskova was left to rue a big opening in the draw but has done enough to climb back to world No.21.
It marked the first time she reached back-to-back Grand Slam quarterfinals since the US Open two years ago, which came after her Wimbledon final loss to Ash Barty.