Linette the shock last Pole standing at AO

Magda Linette is embracing her unlikely role as the last Pole standing at the Australian Open.

Having spent most of her career in the shadow of former Wimbledon finalist Agnieszka Radwanska - who cheered her on from the player's box on Monday - and then incumbent world No.1 Iga Swiatek, the 30-year-old has stepped belatedly into the limelight.

A three-set upset of No.4 seed Caroline Garcia lifted Linette into the quarter-finals of a grand slam for the first time, where she will face former world No.1 Karolina Pliskova on Wednesday.

Linette played important roles for Poland in last year's Billie Jean King Cup - including a win over Pliskova - and their run to the semi-finals at the United Cup earlier this month and has carried that form into the season's opening major.

The big shock is that she will not be joined in the last eight at Melbourne Park by title favourite Swiatek, who crashed out in the round of 16 to Wimbledon champ Elena Rybakina.

Poland's highest-ranked men's player, No.10 seed Hubert Hurkacz, also failed to advance from the fourth round.

"I just assumed that Iga would be here as well because she has been playing really well," said Linette.

"But I don't put extra pressure on myself about it."

In 29 previous major appearances, the unseeded Pole had never gone beyond the third round.

But the woman best known to local audiences for her win over Ash Barty at the 2021 French Open when the Australian was forced to withdrew mid-match with a hip injury never stopped believing.

"I wasn't that completely far away," said Linette.

"At Wimbledon I was quite close one year to get through to the second week when I was a break up in the third set against Paula (Badosa of Spain, the No.30 seed in 2021).

"At Roland Garros, I was a set up against Ons (Jabeur, the current world No.2).

"I've been in the third rounds so many times that I knew I'm capable.

"Then when I started beating players like Ash Barty and then Ons, that kind of gave me an extra kick that really showed me that I can really go far in those tournaments."

Her opponent on Wednesday will be fellow 30-year-old Pliskova, who has long carried the unofficial and unwanted tag of "best women's player yet to win a major".

Now ranked 31 in the world, Pliskova has made impressive progress to the quarters, dropping just 19 games in four straight-sets triumphs.

The Czech missed last year's Australian Open with a wrist injury but finished 2022 strongly, including a run to the quarters of the US Open.

"The first rounds are not the best matches of the tournament," said Pliskova.

"The later you go, of course you're playing tougher opponents - no matter what ranking they are.

"Having the experience can help, but also I feel like there are so many young girls or girls who have never been here before and can play a bit more freely, without the pressure."

The winner will play either fifth-seeded Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka or unseeded Croatian Donna Vekic in Thursday's semis.