Serena Williams makes surprisingly early exit from the 2020 Australian Open

Serena Williams reacts after a point against China’s Wang Qiang during their women’s singles match on day five of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on Friday. (Photo: TennisWorldUSA.com)

Serena Williams suffers a surprising defeat to China’s Wang Qiang, having to exist the 2020 Australian Open on Friday. This is Williams earliest exit from the tournament in 14 years.

The 23-time Grand Slam champion had a difficult time during the match, criticising her own performance and lambasting it as “unprofessional”.

The American made 56 unforced errors compared to Qiang’s 20, eventually losing to the Chinese 6-4 6-7 (2-7) 7-5. 

The American admitted that she was confident about coming out victorious after winning the second set and stated, “I was optimistic that I would be able to win.” I thought, ‘Ok now finish this off’. I honestly didn’t think I was going to lose that match.”

The 38-year-old has lost in four Grand Slam finals since winning Wimbledon in 2016.

This defeat fuels speculation that a 24th title will remain out of reach for Williams.

However, she still believes that she will win a title.

“I definitely do believe, or I wouldn’t be on tour,” she said. “I don’t just play to have fun. To lose is really not fun. I seem to do well the last two Slams of the year. I have won them all several times. Each one is definitely an opportunity for me to go out there and win.”

While the spotlight was on Williams, it was an exceptional day for China’s Wang after she won only one game last summer during the US Open. 

“I’m really happy now,” said the 24-year-old. “I always believed I can do this one day. I didn’t know which day, but it’s coming today. I did really hard work in the off-season, so it paid off.”