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Unseeded Magda Linette plows into Australian Open semifinals

Jan 23, 2023; Melbourne, Victoria, Australia; Magda Linette from Poland during her round four match against Caroline Garcia from France on day eight of the 2023 Australian Open tennis tournament at Melbourne Park. Mandatory Credit: Mike Frey-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Mike Frey-USA TODAY Sports

Mighty Madga moved into the Australian Open semifinals after breezing through another match against a higher-ranked opponent.

Magda Linette has carried the Polish flag after World No. 1 Iga Swiatek was upset and left little doubt she belonged on Wednesday in a dominant showing in the quarterfinals.

Linette hammered Czech Karolina Pliskova 6-3, 7-5, sending the former No. 1 home and adding to a list of big game trophies in the Grand Slam.

“It’s so emotional I can’t really believe it,” said Linette, 30. “I tried to stay composed and took my chances when I could.”

With Swiatek championing the underdog via social media, Linette has taken out No. 16 seed Anett Kontaveit, No. 19 Ekaterina Alexandrova and WTA Finals champion Caroline Garcia, the No. 4 seed, in successive rounds.

Linette draws No. 5 Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus in Thursday night’s semifinals. Sabalenka won in straight sets 6-3, 6-2, over unseeded Croatian Donna Vekic, who double-faulted 13 times.

The other semifinal set earlier this week features two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka of Belarus and reigning Wimbledon champ Elena Rybakina of Russia, who beat Swiatek.

Vekic had been 5-1 against Sabalenka entering the quarterfinals. Sabalenka, 24, is in a Grand Slam semifinal for the fourth time.

“I don’t know why, but here feels really special to be in the semifinals,” Sabalenka said on court in Melbourne. “It was so great to play here today. The atmosphere was unbelievable.”

–Field Level Media