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Late bloomer Linette powers past Pliskova, into Australian Open semi-finals

Magda Linette won against Karolina Pliskova 6-3, 7-5 on Wednesday night and will play the winner of the match between Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka, the No 5 seed, and Croat Donna Vekic in the next round

Magda Linette 2023 Australian Open Magda Linette 2023 Australian Open || (AI / Reuters / Panoramic)
Australian Open •Quarter-final • completed
See draw

At the 2023 Australian Open, it’s Magda’s time to shine!

Pole Magda Linette moved into her first major semi-final on Wednesday at the Australian Open, defeating former world No 1 Karolina Pliskova, the No 30 seed, 6-3, 7-5.

“It’s so emotional and I can’t really believe it, it’s really a dream come true,” an elated Linette said on court. “We keep going, though.  I can’t get too excited because we are still in the tournament but I’m super grateful and happy.”

It was a poised and patient victory for the 30-year-old, and one that defied the sheer improbability of her milestone. Prior to this year’s Australian Open, Linette had never been beyond the third round of a major and she entered this year’s main draw with a career record of 18-29 at the Grand Slams.

To put it another way: of her previous 30 Grand Slam appearances, 17 ended in first-round defeats.

Linette chalks up her newfound ability to win on the big stage with acceptances. She has learned to accept that perfection isn’t a realistic goal, and to be happy with her best effort. She also said she learned to separate the personal and the professional.

“I think through all my life, I’ve been taking mistakes and losses very personally,” she said. “So to disconnect those two things, being a tennis player and a person was really difficult, because I felt a lot of times that the misses and the mistakes are defining me. So I mean, my coaches and me did a really great job, and I’m really thankful to them because they really put up with a lot of crap.”

The Pole cracked 18 winners against 16 unforced errors; Pliskova also hit 18 winners but committed 36 unforced errors and was broken three times.

Linette, ranked No 45, will face the winner of the match between Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka, the No 5 seed, and Croat Donna Vekic next.

Earlier in the tournament, the Pole won against Egyptian Mayar Sherif (7-5, 6-1), Estonian Anett Kontaveit, the No 16 seed (3-6, 6-3, 6-4), Russian Ekaterina Alexandrova, the No 19 seed (6-3, 6-4) and Frenchwoman Caroline Garcia, the No 4 seed (7-6 (3), 6-4).

Pliskova, ranked No 31, won against Chinese Xiyu Wang (6-1, 6-3), Kazakh Yulia Putintseva (6-0, 7-5), Russian Varvara Gracheva (6-4, 6-2) and Chinese Shuai Zhang, the No 23 seed (6-0, 6-4) in the previous rounds.

Melbourne (Grand Slam), other last eight results (Melbourne Park, hard, USD 24.297.942, most recent results first):

  • Aryna Sabalenka vs. Donna Vekic
  • Victoria Azarenka (24) beat Jessica Pegula (3): 6-4, 6-1
  • Elena Rybakina (22) beat Jelena Ostapenko (17): 6-2, 6-4
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