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Serena Williams reacts during an Australian Open quarter-final match against Karolina Pliskova, at Melbourne Park, in Melbourne, Australia, on Jan. 23, 2019.EDGAR SU/Reuters

Serena Williams squandered four match points and blew a 5-1 lead in the decider to fall to seventh seed Karolina Pliskova 6-4 4-6 7-5 in the quarter-finals of the Australian Open on Wednesday.

Williams also saved two match points in the last game but netted on the third in a stunning loss to the big-serving Czech at Rod Laver Arena.

Pliskova advances to meet Naomi Osaka for a place in the final.

Earlier, Osaka reached the Australian Open semi-finals for the first time by stretching her Grand Slam winning streak to 12 matches.

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 that helped her put together a 6-4, 6-1 victory over Elina Svitolina on Wednesday at Melbourne Park.

“I tried to be consistent,” the No. 4-seeded Osaka said, “or as consistent as I can.”

She never had been past the fourth round at the Australian Open.

Svitolina had her neck and shoulders massaged by a trainer during a medical timeout while trailing 3-0 in the second set.

The No. 6 seed from Ukraine said afterward that she had been troubled by pain in that area since the start of the tournament.

“Unfortunately I couldn’t produce 100 per cent the game that I wanted,” Svitolina said. “But in the end, she was just playing better today.”

Later Wednesday, in the men’s quarter-finals, 2016 Wimbledon runner-up Milos Raonic was to meet No. 28 Lucas Pouille during the afternoon, while 14-time major champion Novak Djokovic was scheduled to face 2014 U.S. Open finalist Kei Nishikori at night.

With files from Reuters

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