SERENA WILLIAMS is OUT of the Australian Open – after injuring her left ankle on the first of her four match points.
The American was serving to move into the semi-finals in Melbourne and a reunion with US Open champion Naomi Osaka.
The 37-year-old lost the first set and was a break down in the second but fought back to lead 5-1 in the deciding third set against Czech Karolina Pliskova.
But while during the rally on match point at 40-30, she appeared to turn her ankle and was in great discomfort. Serena did not win another point on serve after that moment.
Pliskova broke Serena's serve to win that game - helped by a double fault and unforced error from the American - and then claimed the next five games in a row to move into the Australian Open semi-finals for the first time after an astonishing two-hour battle.
Overall Williams squandered FOUR match points and said: "There's nothing I did wrong on those match points. I can't say that I choked. She literally played her best tennis ever on those shots.
"I don't really take losses well. But Karolina played lights out starting 5-1, 40-30. Literally, I've never seen anything like it. If anything, that's a little bit easier to know.
"OK, next time I'm up 5-1 against anybody, I just need to make sure I play lights out when I have match points.
"I really hate calling the trainer out. And at that point I didn't feel like I needed it, or I didn't feel like it would be a big deal. So I just kept going. I like to just kind of tough it out. It was fine."
Pliskova reached only her third Grand Slam semi-final and first in Melbourne with the victory. The 26-year-old star said: “Serena improved her game in the second set, she went for her shots, she was more aggressive. I was struggling.
“I played too passive. On one hand I was almost in the locker room, now I am standing here as the winner. It’s a good feeling.
“My mind was in the locker room. She was playing well.
“I didn’t have many chances. Mentally I was down. I just said: ‘Let’s try to keep playing, at 5-2, and I will have chances.’
“She got a bit shaky at the end. I took my chances and then won.”