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Linette realizes a dream after reaching her first Grand Slam semi-final.

Magda Linette said it was a “dream come true” to reach her first Grand Slam semi-final after beating former world number 1 Karolina Pliskova at the Australian Open on Wednesday.

The unseeded Pole, who was expected to play second fiddle in Melbourne to fellow No. 1 seed Iga Swiatek, beat 30th-seeded Czech Pliskova. series, 6-3, 7-5, at Rod Laver Arena. She will face Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka, 5th seed, for a place in the final.

“I’m so emotional, I can’t really believe it,” said Linette, the world No. 45. “It’s a dream come true. I am super grateful and happy. Thank you for your encouragement and support, I really needed it.

“So we continue. I don’t want to get too excited because we’re still in the tournament.”

Sabalenka, the only top-10 seed remaining in the draw, earned her place in the last four by beating Donna Vekic 6-3, 6-2 in a fierce battle of heavy hitters in Game 2 at a Rod Laver Arena boiling.

The Belarusian could struggle against Linette, who played wonderfully controlled tennis to wrap up her win over Pliskova.

Sabalenka then tried her luck in a physical hour-long first set filled with break points before escaping with the second to reach her fourth Grand Slam semi-final and her first in Melbourne.

Vekic was 5-1 in his career against the Belarusian, but he was unable to match the level of the new, improved Sabalenka with 13 double faults which did not help the Croatian’s cause.

Sabalenka was still making plenty of mistakes, but her once shaky serve was largely solid, and when she did play her explosive forehand, Vekic still struggled to get away.

Two double faults as Sabalenka served for the match recalled the player she once was, but the 24-year-old saved three break points and sealed victory with a massive forehand that hit Vekic to the body.

“She’s a great player and it’s always difficult to face her,” said Sabalenka, before explaining why she thought she had come out on top.

“I think it was because I was calm and expected this play from him, so I was able to stay in the game no matter what. It was the key. »

Linette had no problem serving her quarter-final against two-time Grand Slam finalist Pliskova, who committed 36 unforced errors and still ran after the match.

The Czech knew she needed to step up her game in the second set after losing the first, but Linette had the answer to anything thrown at her.

“She played really well from the baseline,” Pliskova said. “I just couldn’t find space in the court to get my winning shots. Obviously the service wasn’t great at all today. »

Linette had never made it past the third round of a Grand Slam before arriving at Melbourne Park this year and said a shift in mentality was behind her fairytale journey.

“I think all my life I’ve taken my mistakes and my defeats very personally,” she explained. “So to disconnect [life] as a tennis player and as a person was really difficult because I felt like, a lot of times, mistakes defined me. »

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