Serena Williams’ pursuit of a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam title is over for another couple of months after she was dumped out of the Australian Open by Wang Qiang.
Former world No 1 Williams was in imperious form in her first two matches at Melbourne Park and, having beaten Wang 6-1, 6-0 in 44 minutes during the US Open last September, many expected her to come out on top.
But the 27th seeded Wang clearly learned from her mistakes last year as she held off a late fightback from the American to win 6-4, 6-7 (2-7), 7-5 in two hours and 40 minutes.
The scintillating numbers behind Wang Qiang’s stunner:
— WTA Insider (@WTA_insider) January 24, 2020
After wasting a break point in game three, the Chinese player got the breakthrough five games later and then served out the first set.
She then appeared to be on course for at two-set win with a break in game five of the second set, but Williams dug deep and at one point came out on top of an incredible 24-point rally and eventually go the break back.
The 38-year-old pulled level after dominating the tie-breaker.
Wang again fashioned break points in games two and eight of the deciding set and then wasted two match points in game 12, but she wasn’t to be denied on the third one.
Chinese New Year celebration? 🇨🇳
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 24, 2020
“I think my team always believe I can do it,” Wang, who will face Ons Jabeur in the fourth round, said after the match.
“After last (I played Serena), I did really hard work on the court and off the court, it’s really good work and I believed I could do it.
“During the second set I was a little bit confused but in my mind I knew I had to focus on the court, focus on every point.”
Your draw for the 2020 Mexican Open.
WTA Tour No 20 title for Simona Halep.
Stefanos Tsitsipas on course to successfully defend title.
Dominic Thiem OUT of Rio Open.
Your draw for the 2020 Dubai Tennis Championships.
Kevin Anderson out of action for an extended period.
Roger Federer backed to win another Wimbledon title.
It’s over for Daniil Medvedev in Marseille.
Stefanos Tsitsipas ‘in the zone’ in Marseille.
It’s Simona Halep v Elena Rybakina in the Dubai final.