Serena Williams Defeated in 3rd Round of Australian Open

Serena Williams bid to win a 24th Grand Slam title has been falling short with losses in finals. At this Australian Open, she didnt make it nearly that far.

Serving only so-so, failing to convert all but one of her break chances and missing groundstrokes with alarming regularity, Williams stunningly exited in the third round at Melbourne Park, beaten 6-4, 6-7 (2), 7-5 by 27th-seeded Wang Qiang of China on Friday.

Williams was broken in the final game, fittingly ending things with a backhand into the net. That was her 27th unforced error on the backhand side, part of a total of 56 miscues. Wang made only 20.

Serena Williams
Serena Williams
Serena Williams during the match against Chinas Qiang Wang at the 3rd round of the Australian Open, in Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia on Jan. 24, 2020. (Reuters/Kai Pfaffenbach)

Williams owns seven trophies from the years first major championship and this was her earliest defeat there since also bowing out in the third round all the way back in 2006.

Here is just one measure of how unexpected this result was: The only other time these two women faced each other came at the U.S. Open last September—the only Slam quarterfinal appearance of Wangs career—and Williams needed all of 44 minutes to dominate her way to a 6-1, 6-0 victory. The total points were 50 to 15.

Wang quickly surpassed those game and point totals Friday, thanks in large part to nearly flawless play in the first set.

Australian Open Tennis
Australian Open Tennis
Chinas Wang Qiang reacts as she plays against Serena Williams of the U.S. in their third round singles match at the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

She saved all four break points she faced in that set, accumulated 10 winners and made just five unforced errors. Wang picked up the lone break she needed at love with an easy forehand putaway winner that made it 5-4.

Soon enough, Williams was sailing a backhand return long to cede the set. Wang quickly went up in the second, too, and already was ahead by a break at 4-2 when she was a point away from earning another.

But Williams—so tough at the toughest moments for so many years—steadied herself there to hold and get within 4-3. There was still work to do, though, and when Wang served for the victory at 5-4 in the second, Williams came through.

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