The big draw at the ASB Classic, Serena Williams, has been dumped out of the tournament after Madison Brengle caused a major upset.
It was a match that Williams, the World No.2, was expected to win with relative ease. With a spot in the quarterfinal at stake, Williams struggled with the wind and couldn’t execute her shots with any accuracy.
The number of unforced errors Williams hit is staggering, as was her inability to close out on numerous set-winning opportunities. Despite playing so poorly, Williams was close to escaping with the match on multiple occasions.
A foul shot would see Williams hand victory to Brengle, stunning the crowd. Brengle didn’t only win, but she caused one of the great upsets in tennis history.
Williams was forced to chase the game, but she had looked average at best right throughout the match. Looking calm and composed, Brengle exposed some rare errors in Williams’ game, making her look anything like the champion she has been heralded as.
Williams battled hard but Brengle was a step ahead in the First Set. Brengle, who has a lower ranking than Williams’ first opponent of the ASB Classic, won the First Set by two games 6-4.
Fired up, Williams began to shout with each winner she hit in the Second Set. The winners weren’t coming thick and fast however, Williams wasn’t making things easy on herself as she notched up 43 unforced errors in the opening set and a half.
Williams gave up five set point opportunities, but used all her experience to ride out the pressure and take the game to a Third Set.
Brengle held the advantage through the Third Set, again forcing Williams to come behind by holding serve. Leading 5-4, and with the match on the line, Brengle held her nerve to cause one of tennis’ great upsets.
Venus Williams Withdraws From ASB Classic With Injury
Williams’ loss continued a shocking day at the ASB Classic, a day where her younger sister Venus Williams withdrew from the tournament due to a right arm injury.
During her match against Kiwi wildcard Jade Lewis, the World No.17 suffered pain in her right arm that impacted on her serve. Williams beat Lewis in straight sets in a testing encounter, but medical tests afterward deemed the experienced superstar unfit to continue.
Williams was due to face Naomi Osaka in the Second Round, but her injury means that Osaka will automatically advance to the quarter finals.
The popular figure, and former winner of the ASB Classic, said she loved being at the Auckland-based tournament.
I love this tournament and I’m really sad to have to withdraw, but it’s been a great experience being here again.
During the press conference, Williams was full of praise for her opponent Jade Lewis. The 18-year old left the court in tears after losing to Williams, but she’s received the greatest endorsement from Williams. The veteran praised Lewis’ intensity on court and predicted great things for her future.
Barbara Strycova Advances In 3-Hour Thriller
In a thrilling match on Centre Court earlier in the day, close friends Barbora Strycova and Lucie Safarova squared off in a bid to advance to the quarter finals.
The match went the distance, lasting just under three hours. Strycova clinched the First Set before Safarova came storming back to win the Second.
The deciding set was tied, forcing the breaker, but you always felt like Safarova was being forced to come from behind. In the end, it was the 4th Seed Strycova that came out on top, winning the final set in the tie breaker with a classy drop shot.
The official result was 7-5, 6-3, 7-6 to Strycova. Julia Goerges also advanced on the day, in straight sets over Naomi Broady.