Serena Williams threw away a 5-1 lead in the third set, but insists she 'didn't choke' during Karolina Pliskova defeat

Photo by JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty ImagesSerena Williams crashed out of the 2019 Australian Open quarter-final.
  • Serena Williams threw away a 5-1 lead in the third set of an Australian Open quarter-final match, but has insisted she did not choke.
  • Instead, Williams said it was Plisikova who played the best tennis of her life.
  • Plisikova seemingly agreed, remarking post-match that even though her mind was, at one point, in the locker room, she got a chance that maybe only comes along once in a lifetime.
  • Williams is made to wait for another chance to equal Margaret Court’s record haul of 24 Grand Slam titles, while Plisikova progresses to Thursday’s semi-final.

Serena Williams has insisted she “didn’t choke” despite throwing away a huge lead in Wednesday’s Australian Open quarter-final loss to Karolina Pliskova.

Williams won the first set 6-4, but Pliskova restored parity in the second with a 6-4 win of her own. With a 5-1 lead in the third and final set, it appeared Williams was coasting towards a place in Thursday’s semi-final.

Plisikova herself said that her mind was already “in the locker room,” but the 27-year-old – currently ranked No. 7 in women’s tennis – launched the greatest of escapes, battled against four match points, and won the last set 7-5.

Read more: Serena Williams looked mortified and turned around after walking onto the Australian Open court while ‘world number one’ Simona Halep was being announced

Post-match, Williams said she did nothing wrong “on those match points.”

According to The Independent, she added: “I stayed aggressive. She just literally hit the lines on some of them. One she hit an ace, an unreturnable serve. I literally did everything I could on those match points. I can’t say that I choked on those match points. She literally played her best tennis ever.”

Plisikova, who showed incredible pluck to deny Williams victory, agreed: “I don’t think she did anything actually that bad. I thought she was missing a bit more but I was more aggressive.”

Karolina Plisikova beat Serena WilliamsPhoto by WILLIAM WEST/AFP/Getty ImagesKarolina Plisikova was the better woman on the day.

Midway through that third set, Williams seemed to roll her ankle but did not call her trainer on to the court as she did not think it was a “big deal.”

Read more: Serena Williams says she’s seen ‘Frozen’ and ‘Beauty and the Beast’ thousands of times, and her husband Alexis Ohanian knows all the words

Regardless, Plisikova said she “got a chance.” She sensed blood, and a way to finish Williams. “That’s how it is in tennis,” she said. “You need luck, of course, because this doesn’t happen often, maybe once in a lifetime, but I went for it.”

Plisikova’s reward for going for it is a semi-final against the 2018 US Open champion Naomi Osaka at the Rod Laver Arena on Thursday, while Williams – who is one Grand Slam title away from equalling Margaret Court’s record haul of 24 – is made to wait for another chance to write even more history than she has done already.

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