Serena Williams continues her quest for a 24th Grand Slam title when she takes on 27th seed Wang Qiang of China in the Australian Open third round on Friday.
Serena Williams ?? vs Wang Qiang ?? Match Info
Date: Friday January 24
Tournament: Australian Open R3
Court: Rod Laver Arena
Time: 12.30pm local time (1.30am GMT)
Serena Williams vs Wang Qiang Head-to-Head
Serena leads 1-0
2019 | US Open QF | Serena 6-1 6-0
Serena Williams vs Wang Qiang Match Preview
For the second straight slam Serena comes up against Wang after the legendary American demolished the Chinese for the loss of just one game at the U.S. Open just a few months ago – will it be more of the same in Melbourne on Friday?
Unfortunately for Wang, it’s looking like it could be. Serena is a woman on a mission in 2020 as she continues her pursuit of an elusive 24th major title, and she’s made the perfect start to the season, winning her first seven matches for the combined loss of just one set.
Serena started the season by winning her first title since the 2017 Australian Open and first trophy as a mother, reigning supreme at the the ASB Classic in Auckland, defeating compatriot Jessica Pegula in the final. It was perfect preparation for the Australian Open, with Serena saying she’s taken a lot of confidence from that triumph – and you can see it across her two matches in Melbourne so far.
The 38-year-old began her campaign with a destructive 6-0 6-3 dispatch of rising star Anastasia Potapova in the opening round, winning the first set in 19 minutes before coming back from a break down in the second. The second round against Slovenia’s Tamara Zidansek was a little bit tougher, especially in the second set as Serena started spraying a few errors, but the seven-time Australian Open champion was never in any real danger as she swiftly found her range and completed a 6-2 6-3 victory to move into the third round.
Simply sensational @serenawilliams!
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 22, 2020
“I just started making way too many errors,” said Williams when asked about the second set. “I mean, more errors than I have been making in my good matches in the past. I just wasn’t doing the right technique, catching the ball not in my strike zone.
“It was just all off so I had to adjust… So just having to say, OK, not every match is going to be perfect, how to work through that. I hadn’t done that since September. It was just kind of working through that and getting through that.”
Serena has repeatedly proven she doesn’t need many matches to get going – reaching four Grand Slam finals over the last two years while barely playing is a testament to that – but now that she’s got momentum, match-play and confidence under her belt, I have a feeling she’s going to take some stopping in Melbourne over the next fortnight.
And unfortunately for Wang Qiang, I don’t think she’s the woman to do it – especially when you look at how their U.S. Open match in September played out.
In fairness too Wang, she played some spectacular tennis in New York that tournament, conquering World No. 1 Ashleigh Barty in straight sets in the previous round, but she was overawed at playing Serena in her first Grand Slam quarter-final in front of an enormous Arthur Ashe Stadium crowd and simply froze on the big stage. She should be better off for the experience and know what to expect for this Australian Open clash on Friday.
Wang lifted her first WTA title in 2017 in Nanchang as she finished inside the top 50 in the year-end rankings for the first time, and she’s taken her game to new levels since, including a phenomenal 2018 in which she registered a 23-6 record in her home nation of China, winning titles in Nanchang and Guangzhou, finishing runner-up in Hong Kong and Zhuhai and making the semi-finals in Wuhan and Beijing.
The 28-year-old scaled new heights in 2019, reaching the Miami quarter-finals before becoming just the fifth Chinese woman to make a Grand Slam quarter-final at the U.S. Open, with that run elevating her to a career-high No. 12 in the world. However, Wang struggled to defend all of her points in Asia that she earned in 2018, and that caused her to drop to a year-end mark of No. 29. Wang began her 2020 season with a quarter-final in Shenzhen and a first round loss in Adelaide to Angelique Kerber, but she’s yet to drop a set at the Australian Open, beating Pauline Parmentier and Fiona Ferro to make the third round for the first time.
Serena Williams vs Wang Qiang Prediction
As mentioned, Serena absolutely throttled Wang at the U.S. Open, but for the Chinese’s sake, hopefully she won’t be too overawed this time around. Nevertheless, Wang doesn’t really have the weapons to match it with Serena if the American is in the zone with her groundstrokes and serving – which she has been all season. If Serena plays like she has to start 2020, there’s not going to be much Wang can do to trouble the 23-time major champion.