Minutes after 3:00am on Friday morning, I woke up and thought to check the scores. Serena in trouble, how could I go back to sleep?
As time ticked on by the pressure began to kick in for both ladies. Serena Williams had not left this stage of the Australian Open since 2006 and for the 27th see Qiang Wang she was one very big win away from the fourth round in Melbourne for the first time.
At 6-4 5-4 the 28 year old from Tianjin would serve for the biggest win of her career.
Just knowing who is down the other side of the court makes this task a hundred times more difficult. A weak second serve got the treatment with Serena winning the first two points.
Her nightmare scenario was on the cards, Serena had break points but remained silent on the other end at Rod Laver Arena.
No noise, just a massive fist pump after a stunning 24 shot rally forehand winner from the 7 time former champion and after 93 minutes was level in the second set.
The theme however continued, Wang was aggressive on serve but the Serena backhand wasn’t in time with her feet offering up two break points. The backhand may of let her down but the forehand did all the talking and with no reaction walked to the seat at 6-5.
A wild one from Serena and a hold to love for Qiang as the conclusion of the set would be decided by a tie-break.
An apology from Serena as another backhand clipped the net cord but dropped on Qiang’s side.
The tension levels rose as double fault brought us what looked to 3-3 but an incredibly late call and Hawkeye showed the ball to be out and Serena up 4-2 instead!
Just when she needed it the most Serena Williams came up with an incredible defensive shot as Wang failed to put away two smashes how costly would that be?
Unreturned serve out-wide sealed the second set 7-6 when 20 minutes before it looks like the end of Serena’s run in Melbourne.
A third set that went to the wire. I was expecting a little runaway or something to separate the two with Wang seeing more break points but couldn’t capitalise on any once again until 6-5…
Two match points came and the stare from Wang meant business.
A second serve returned short and a netted forehand took those precious points away from the 27th seed!
A third opportunity for the match for Wang…
What did I say about that backhand? It let her down once again!
Qiang Wang 6-4 6-7 7-5 Serena Williams!!