Linette can’t believe it herself, suddenly a semi-final after thirty grand slams

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NOS SportWednesday, 08:16

Magda Linette turns out to be the sensation of the Australian Open. The Polish is almost 31 and has never played a significant role in a grand slam tournament. Until this year.

Former number one Karolina Plisková became her next victim in the quarterfinals (6-3, 7-5), after previously beating seeded players Anett Kontaveit, Yekaterina Aleksandrova and Carolina Garcia.

To make it more heroic: of her previous 29 Grand Slam participations, she failed the first round 17 times. She never got past the third round at a grand slam tournament before this Australian Open.

Nevertheless, Linette has been a stable player in the top hundred in recent years, with a current ranking of 45. Her semi-final place will give her a big jump in the world ranking. And if she holds the nerves as well as she did against Plisková, there may be even more to it.

Two double errors

Linette only served once and made few mistakes, unlike her Czech opponent. Plisková switched up a gear in the second set, but gave the Polish a break at 5-5 with two double faults. Linette then finished the match on her first match point.

“It’s so emotional I can’t really believe it,” said Linette after her next stunt. “I tried to stay calm and took my chances when I could.”

In the battle for a place in the final, Linette has to deal with Aryna Sabalenka, the last remaining top ten player in the women’s tournament after her victory over Donna Vekic (6-3 6-2).


Aryna Sabalenka

Sabalenka reached a grand slam semifinal for the fourth time in her career. She lost all the previous three, by the way. But Sabalenka is now in excellent shape, as witnessed by her undefeated status in 2023. In those nine matches, she has not even lost a set.

She certainly didn’t play flawlessly against the Croatian, but she served below par. Vekic hit thirteen double faults and won only 32 of her seventy points on her own service.

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