There haven’t been many times I have found a tennis match awkward to watch. However, on the 4th of September last year this was the case.
8th seed Serena Williams saw off 18th seed Qiang Wang 6-1 6-0 in the quarter finals at the US Open. This was her best Grand Slam run, a fourth round win against Ash Barty was the highlight of a run that ended quite badly.
Just weeks before the event Qiang was hit with the sad news that her coach Pete McNamara had passed away and it was a shame to see her run at Flushing Meadows end as it did.
Just a reminder of some of the numbers from that awkward watch:
11 points won in set one
4 points won in set two
0 winners in the entire match
It was as bad as it gets.
To turn up in Melbourne and do what she did takes some guts indeed and she learned from her drubbing in New York.
Everything she did she did with a purpose. The second serve stood up much better with an average speed increase of just over 5mph which doesn’t sound like much but it made a big difference.
Qiang found a lot of joy serving down the T but the serve out widen the the ad and deuce side did give the seven time champion a look-in but she rarely found herself in serious trouble.
The backhand stood up from the 28 year old, she continued to pepper the backhand defence of Serena who was lacking here today but it was soo clever from Wang who continued to hit the ball early.
The early ball shouldn’t have been a surprise to Serena but it caught her out and it all stemmed from her footwork and not moving her feet quick enough.
The story will be about Serena but it should be about Qiang Wang. Four months ago she won 15 points in 44 minutes as she got taken apart by Serena but today she learned from that lesson and produced a performance deserving of applause.