Serena Williams stunned by Qiang Wang in Australian Open
Though she nearly came all the way back, Serena Williams’ run at the Australian Open came to an early end on Thursday.
Williams, after rallying back from an early hole to force a third set, fell to China’s Qiang Wang 6-4, 6-7 (2), 7-5 in stunning fashion at Rod Laver Arena — marking her earliest exit from the tournament since 2006. Entering as the No. 8 seed, She is now the first top-10 seed to fall in the first Grand Slam event of the year.
Wang clawed her way back in the first set after falling into a 2-1 hole early to take the early lead, and then jumped up to a big 4-2 lead in the second — seemingly putting Williams away early.
That, though, is when the 23-time Grand Slam winner turned it on. Williams quickly pushed back to tie up the second set and force a tiebreaker, which she won handily to keep herself alive.
In the end, though, it wasn’t enough. Wang held on in the final set to grab the upset win and punch her first-ever ticket to the Round of 16 in Melbourne.
“I have to be calm,” Wang said of her mindset during the second set. “[I was] a little bit confused inside, but my mind always told me I had to focus on the court, focus on every point and trust myself.”
The two have squared off just once before, meeting at the U.S. Open in September. That time, though, Williams cruised to a 6-1, 6-0 win in just 44 minutes — scoring 50 points to Wang’s 15.
Williams was plagued by errors on Friday, too, making 56 unforced total. Wang, though, only slipped 20 times in the nearly 2:45 match.
With the win, Wang will advance to take on Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur, who beat Denmark’s Caroline Wozniacki 7-5, 3-6, 7-5 — which marked the final match of Wozniacki’s career.
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