Sabalenka, Linette into Open semi-finals

Unfancied Magda Linette's dream run at the Australian Open has continued, with the unseeded Pole ousting Karolina Pliskova to set up a semi-final showdown with Aryna Sabalenka.

Linette arrived at Melbourne Park saddled with an inauspicious record at the majors, having failed to progress beyond the third round in 29 previous attempts.

But she has turned that around in stunning style by beating five top-50 players in succession, including former world No.1 Pliskova.

Linette made the crucial break in the 11th game of the second set and held her nerve to serve out the match, winning 6-3 7-5 in one hour, 27 minutes.

"It's so emotional; I can't really believe it," she said.

"Dreams come true.

"We keep going though.

"I don't want to get too excited because we're still in the tournament but I'm super grateful and happy."

The 30-year-old admitted she had become much better at managing her emotions on the court.

"All through my life I've been taking mistakes and losses very personally, so I had to disconnect those two things," she said.

"It was really difficult, because I felt a lot of times that the misses, the mistakes, were defining me.

"My coaches and I did a really great job, and I'm really thankful to them, because they really put up with a lot of crap."

The loss means Pliskova's long wait for a maiden grand slam title continues.

The 30-year-old Czech has lost both of her major finals - at the 2016 US Open to Angelique Kerber and at Wimbledon two years ago to Ash Barty.

Sabalenka is the highest-ranked of the four Open semi-finalists and will start as the clear favourite against Linette, having dropped just seven games in their only two previous clashes.

That record was in stark contrast to her previous 1-5 win-loss record against her opponent in Wednesday's quarter-final - unseeded Croatian Donna Vekic.

But Sabalenka was able to turn that around in a 6-3 6-2 victory that was nowhere near as straightforward as the scoreline suggested.

The powerhouse Belarusian saved a slew of break points in the opening set and was thrilled with her discipline and focus in the big moments.

"Before I would try to go for aces or go for crazy shots to get out easily from those situations," she said.

"But now I keep saying 'no, work for it. It's not going to be easy. You have your shots, you have your serve. Just work for it and go for bigger targets'.

"That's just a different approach."

It will be a fourth grand slam semi for Sabalenka but her first at Melbourne Park.

"I don't like this word 'confidence' - for me it sounds like to be cocky, " she said.

"I just feel like I have more believe in myself.

The Belarusian has yet to drop a single set in nine straight victories this year, including a title triumph at the Adelaide International.


2021 Tokyo Olympics, R64, hard, Sabalenka 6-2 6-1

2018 Tokyo Olympics, R16, hard, Sabalenka 6-1 6-3


Age: 24

Ranking: 5

Plays: right-handed (two-handed backhand)

Career prize money: $US12,302,010

Career titles: 11

Grand slam titles: 0

Australian Open win-loss record: 13-5

Best Australian Open result: semi-finals 2023


Age: 30

Ranking: 45

Plays: right-handed (two-handed backhand)

Career prize money: $US4,301,282

Career titles: 2

Grand slam titles: 0

Australian Open win-loss record: 8-6

Best Australian Open result: semi-finals 2023