Four times, Serena Williams was only one point — a single point — from closing out a victory in the Australian Open quarterfinals.On the first such chance, at 5-1, 40-30 in the third set, she turned her left ankle awkwardly. The owner of the best serve in the sport would lose every point she served the rest of the way.And so it was that a startling reversal and result would follow Wednesday at Melbourne, with Williams dropping the last six games of a 6-4, 4-6, 7-5 loss to No. 7 seed Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic.”I can’t say that I choked on those match points,” Williams said. “She literally played her best tennis ever on those shots.”The 37-year-old American didn’t call for a trainer during the match and later wouldn’t blame the ankle for the way everything changed down the stretch, saying afterward that it “seems to be fine.”But instead of Williams moving closer to an eighth championship at the Australian Open and record-tying 24th Grand Slam title overall, it is Pliskova who will continue the pursuit of her first major trophy.”I was almost in the locker room,” Pliskova told the Rod Laver Arena crowd, “but now I’m standing here as the winner.”At 5-1 down in the third set against Serena Williams, @KaPliskova’s mind was in the locker room…Somehow she ended up in the #AusOpen semifinals.This is how. pic.twitter.com/O8IpYeh27D#AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 23, 2019In the semifinals, Pliskova will face No. 4-seeded Naomi Osaka, who advanced by beating No. 6 Elina Svitolina 6-4, 6-1 earlier Wednesday. The other women’s semifinal will be two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova against unseeded American Danielle Collins.advertisementIn the men’s quarterfinals Wednesday, 2016 Wimbledon runner-up Milos Raonic met No. 28 Lucas Pouille, before 14-time major champion Novak Djokovic was scheduled to face 2014 U.S. Open finalist Kei Nishikori at night.Williams’ surprising departure scuttled what would have been a much-anticipated rematch against Osaka, who beat her in the chaotic U.S. Open final last September.This defeat is the earliest in Australia for Williams since way back in 2014, when she exited with a fourth-round loss to Ana Ivanovic. Since then? She won the tournament in 2015, lost in the final in 2016, and won again in 2017 while pregnant, before missing last year’s edition a few months after the birth of her daughter.As for chasing Margaret Court’s all-time mark of 24 Slam trophies in singles, Williams said: “It hasn’t happened yet, but I feel like it’s going to happen.””My ankle is fine, maybe I’ll feel it tomorrow. I think she played incredible on match points, just hitting lines. I didn’t call the trainer out because I didn’t feel I needed it.”- @serenawilliams #AusOpen pic.twitter.com/9yfHbLWIUy#AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 23, 2019The match against Pliskova was played under a stifling sun, with the temperature around 80 degrees (25 Celsius). Williams — coming off an intense three-set victory over No. 1 Simona Halep in the fourth round — often stepped into the patches of shade behind each baseline.She did not start well, not well at all. Her mistakes were mounting and deficit was growing.In the first set alone, Williams made more than twice as many unforced errors as her opponent, 11-5, a pattern that would continue throughout. By the end, the margin was 37-15.Looking increasingly frustrated, Williams would yell at herself after mistakes or gesture as if to say, “That’s NOT how I should be hitting the ball!” Add it all up, and Pliskova led by a set and a break at 3-2 in the second.Only then did Williams get going. From there, she immediately earned her first break point of the match and converted it to get to 3-all, beginning a run in which she claimed nine of 11 games.”You don’t really feel,” Pliskova said, “like you’re going to win this match.” Karolina Pliskova termed the turnaround against Serena Williams as “the best comeback ever so far in my life”. (Reuters Photo)Serving for the victory at 5-1, 40-30, Williams was called for a foot fault — reminiscent of an infamous such ruling at the U.S. Open a decade ago. During the ensuing point Wednesday, Williams twisted her left ankle and dumped a forehand into the net.She grabbed at her foot afterward, then double-faulted and would go on to cede that game.Not a big deal, right? She still had a sizable lead.Except that three more match points would follow while Pliskova served, and she saved each one.advertisement”There’s nothing I did wrong on those match points. I didn’t do anything wrong. I stayed aggressive,” Williams said. “She just literally hit the lines on some of them.”Williams would again serve for the match at 5-3 — and again get broken. The owner of the most feared and respected serve in women’s tennis was broken for a third time in a row at 5-all, and Pliskova was on her way.”She got a little bit shaky in the end,” Pliskova said. “So I took my chances. And I won.”Osaka will carry a 12-match Grand Slam winning streak into the semifinals.The 21-year-old from Japan moved closer to a second consecutive major championship by parlaying her aggressive and powerful style into a 31-11 edge in winners against Svitolina.”For me, right now, I just try to keep looking forward. So I’m not really satisfied. Like, I am happy that I’m here, but at the same time, I want to keep going,” said Osaka, who never had been past the fourth round at the Australian Open. “There is more matches to win.”Also Read | I am a ghost: Naomi Osaka says no one recognises her in MelbourneAlso Read | Barbecued chicken – Frances Tiafoe coins term for the ball hit by Rafa Nadal’s powerAlso Watch | Serena Williams walks out to world No.1 announcement by mistake
Kolkata: Abhishek Banerjee, president of Trinamool Youth Congress and the party’s MP, has become the co-chairman of the advisory committee of the Trinamool Chhatra Parishad (TMCP).Partha Chatterjee, party’s secretary general is the chairman of the committee. The other members are Ashok Deb, Tapas Roy and Baisanar Chattopadhyay. Jaya Dutta, former TMCP chairperson, is the convenor of the committee.A high-level meeting was held at Trinamool Bhavan on Saturday afternoon in which the general secretaries and unit presidents of the TMCP were present. It was decided that the members of the former TMCP committee will tender resignation to Baisanar Chattopadhyay within a week so that the new committee may be constituted. It may be mentioned that party supremo Mamata Banerjee had announced the reconstitution of the committee at the rally to celebrate the TMCP Foundation Day on August 28. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeSubrata Mukherjee, veteran student leader of the 1970s and state Panchayats and Rural Development minister, shared his experiences with the young leaders during an interactive session. Chatterjee said outsiders will not be allowed in the colleges. The party will not tolerate any disturbance by the students and the sole responsibility of the TMCP units will be to assist the students to achieve better academic goals. He said the TMC wants more and more students, particularly girls, to participate in politics so that they can become future leaders.Chatterjee said people from all walks of life will take part in the rally that will be held to protest the spiraling price rise of petrol and diesel on September 10. The rally will start from Moulali at 3 pm and end at Dorina Crossing. He added that those taking part in the rally will march along one side of the road so that buses and vehicles can ply without any inconvenience.
Kolkata: A beheaded body of a woman was found at nayapara in Kultali on Monday morning. Some locals found the body beside a paddy field and informed police. Later, they recovered the body and sent it for an autopsy.Locals sources informed that the body could not be identified as the head was missing. Police have also enquired whether there was any missing complaint filed in the last few days from the adjacent areas. The sleuths suspect that the woman has been murdered somewhere else. The woman was married, police confirmed. The murderers cut off the head to keep the identity hidden. The investigators are also suspecting that the woman may have been sexually harassed. However, they are waiting for the autopsy report to proceed. An all concerned message with the body’s description has been sent to the adjacent police units as well.
Kolkata: President All India Trinamool Youth Congress Abhishek Banerjee said the BJP should have taken up issues pertaining to the development of the nation instead of spreading hate and divisive politics and using Central agencies to harass political leaders.Banerjee came down heavily on the BJP here on Monday during the foundation laying ceremony of a proposed bridge over Chorial canal in South 24-parganas. Addressing the gathering, Banerjee said: “Narendra Modi had said by banning high-currency notes, supply of money to the terrorists will be stopped. But nothing changed, so many of our jawans lost their lives a few days ago.” Also Read – Bose & Gandhi: More similar than apart, says Sugata BoseHe said the BJP government should have concentrated on development but instead the party started spreading hate politics and used Central agencies to harass political leaders. Banerjee said if he had a son he would send him to the Army to serve the nation. He said the construction of the bridge over the Chorial canal was a longstanding demand of the local residents. The area experiences massive traffic congestion and after the bridge comes up the traffic problem will be solved, he said. Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: MamataThe bridge will be ready within one year. Banerjee said he had taken up the matter with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. He also said the vendors, whose shops will be pulled down to make room for the bridge, will be rehabilitated. He further said in the past five years massive development had taken place in vast areas that fall under the seven Assembly constituencies. “When we make any commitment we try to fulfill it and honor our words,” he said.