China’s Qiang Wang, the #27 seed, upset legendary American Serena Williams at the 2020 Australian Open in the third round 6-4 6-7 7-5 Wang played fantastic pressure tennis, saving four break points over two games in the first set, then breaking Williams late in the first on a lone break point chance in game 9 and serving out the first set at 15 to take it 6-4.
Williams tried to push Wang in the second set but Qiang Wang didn’t falter, breaking Serena for 3-2 and then applying significant pressure up 4-2 to try to secure a second break of serve and serve for the match. Though a frustrated Williams held her serve, that didn’t stop Wang from pushing the match to a critical 5-3 situation, a game away from victory after serving it out from deuce. Williams would serve out a relatively easy hold, forcing Wang to hold her nerve serving for the match at 5-4 The nerves showed, with Williams breaking Wang with strong baseline tennis. The Serena serve would remain shaky as Williams was forced to save two break points late second set on serve, Wang would then force a tiebreak, only to see Serena power through it force a deciding set.
In set 3, Wang didn’t falter in the slightest, holding tough, and facing less pressure on her serve than the error-prone Williams, who had to save break points in three service games in set 3, including two match points saved at 6-5. The third match point was enough for Wang, as another unforced error for Serena from the baseline handed Wang a 6-4 6-7 7-5 victory for the biggest win of her career–one that few saw coming. Wang made up for having a less powerful game than Williams, posting a positive 25/20 winners vs unforced errors ratio vs Williams 43/55 negative ratio.
This loss only adds to the frustration that Serena and her fans have felt as she continues the chase for her record-tying 24th Grand Slam title. Serena won her 23rd at the 2017 Australian Open, while she was a few weeks pregnant with her daughter. Since coming back after pregnancy, the all-time great has reached multiple Grand Slam finals, but has not yet managed to win a title. This loss, though, is her worst showing at a Major in a while. She’s still the favorite in every event she enters moving forward, but this loss will still be a tough one to suffer.