• 63°

Serena Williams stunned by Wang Qiang at Australian Open

Big upset at the Australian Open

China’s 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)

By HOWARD FENDRICH AP Tennis Writer
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Serena Williams’ bid to win a 24th Grand Slam title has been falling short with losses in finals. At this Australian Open, she didn’t 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.
Williams owns seven trophies from the year’s 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 Wang’s 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.
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.
She was 0 for 5 on break points until then but the sixth time was the charm. On the point of the match, with both players slugging away from the baseline, it was Williams who did what it took to take it, smacking a cross-court forehand winner out of Wang’s reach on the 24th stroke.
Williams raised both arms and looked at her guest box in the stands, where her coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, and husband, Alexis Ohanian, rose to their feet to celebrate.
All that did was prolong things, though. Eventually, Williams’ comeback fell short.
___
More AP Tennis: https://apnews.com/apf-Tennis and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Comments

High School

West smashes South 55-16

Nation/World

Biden says $3.5 trillion rebuilding plan has hit ‘stalemate’

Crime

Court rules sex offenders can be monitored perpetually; General Assembly law limits tracking to 10 years

Crime

R. Kelly fate in jury’s hands at sex trafficking trial

High School

High school football: Hornets romp; North loses key road game

News

Supporters of man freed from prison seek Cooper pardon

Coronavirus

Rowan County’s COVID-19 death toll tops 40 for September

College

Catawba-Wingate football game canceled

Crime

Blotter: Sept. 24

Coronavirus

Crowd turns out to raise money for hospitalized sheriff’s deputy

Coronavirus

COVID-19 death tally continues rising, now at 391 in Rowan County

Crime

‘No winners’: Mason found guilty in fish arcade murder trial

Local

Dixonville task force working to engrave names, quotes at cemetery

Coronavirus

Stage set for COVID-19 booster shots

News

Family finds unknown woman’s body in mother’s casket

Coronavirus

A third of workers in Cooper order not vaccinated

Nation/World

Remains of WWII soldier from North Carolina identified, will be buried in Robeson County

High School

State officials reach deal on prep sports governing, but details remain to be worked out

BREAKING NEWS

Mason found guilty in deadly fish arcade shooting

Crime

Blotter: Men stripped, robbed en route to buy beer

Crime

Jury begins deliberations in Fishzilla murder case

Education

East Rowan culinary students feed staff who helped build new classroom

Local Events

Rowan County Fair makes pandemic return Friday with COVID-19 protocols in place

Education

Education briefs: Schultz selected to NCDPI’s Teacher Leadership Council