Serena Williams made her earliest exit at Melbourne Park in 14 years, a 6-4, 6-7 (2), 7-5 loss against 27th-seeded Wang Qiang in the Australian Open’s third round. Williams was broken in the final game after more than 2½ hours, 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.
Since grabbing major championship No. 23 at the 2017 Australian Open, while she was pregnant, Williams hasn’t added to her total.
American Coco Gauff became the youngest player in the professional era to eliminate the reigning women’s champion at the Australian Open, beating former No. 1 Naomi Osaka 6-3, 6-4 in the third round at Melbourne Park on Friday. She is also the youngest player to beat a top-five opponent in a women’s tour-level match since American Jennifer Capriati did it at 15 in 1991.
Osaka made 30 unforced errors, Gauff merely 17. This was a rematch from the third round at the US Open last September; Osaka won that one in straight sets, then consoled a crying Gauff afterward and encouraged her to speak to the fans.