MELBOURNE, Australia | Sport sometimes reminds us that we should never stop dreaming. At 30, on her 30th attempt, Magda Linette of Poland reached her first semi-final in a Grand Slam tournament yesterday.
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The Poles were waiting for Iga Swiatek, number 1 in the world. Or maybe Hubert Hurkacz, the 10th favorite in Melbourne. You will finally have Linette, the 45th racket in the WTA, one of the great surprises of this Australian Open that did not miss.
” I do not believe it “
A player whose ranking has remained around 40th place for years. He’s certainly won two track titles, but on a smaller scale.
And a player who still didn’t understand what had just happened when she was seeded 30th in Australia shortly after her 6-3 and 7-5 win in the quarterfinals against former world premiere Czech Karolina Pliskova , went to the journalists.
“I think, I still don’t believe it,” Linette smiled in disbelief.
A surprising calm
The Pole knew her rival of the day well. They have faced each other nine times and the Czech has won seven times. Their last meeting in a major tournament was at the last US Open.
Pliskova won in the tiebreak of the third set in this first round match. And it wasn’t the first time: Linette too had suffered from the law of the hard-hitting batsman in the opening round of the 2017 US Open.
“I managed to stay mentally calm [mercredi], even when my first serve didn’t go so well, the Pole analyzed. I really managed not to panic and fired my shots in the rallies when I got the chance. »
An amazing calm given the importance of the game. Because not only had Linette never reached the semi-finals of a major tournament these two weeks ago, she had never made it through the third round of an event of this magnitude.
room for improvement
Aside from being used to those big stadiums, her placement often forced her to meet the top-ranked players of the early rounds.
“I’ve faced a lot of opponents of this level,” recalls Linette. It was just another game. Of course a game much further down the table. But I felt the same as always. »
The Pole will return to the large Rod Laver Arena overnight Wednesday through Thursday Eastern time.
She will play that famous first semifinal in 30 tries against 5th seed Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka, who is perhaps the best player this season opener.
The two players had met at the Tokyo Olympics and Sabalenka easily won 6-2, 6-1.
“Let’s tell you the result [de la demi-finale] Couldn’t be worse for me than our last game,” said Linette.