Serena Williams of the US reacts after a point against China's Wang Qiang . AFP

World number 29 Wang Qiang has knocked out seven-time Australian Open champion Serena Williams in a three setter 6-4 6-7 7-5 in a third round duel on Friday.

Williams, who was gunning for an elusive, record equalling 24th Grand Slam title could not fight off the high flying Chinese superstar on Center Court at Rod Laver Arena.

Wang served for the match at 5-4 in the second set but Williams broke her for the first time and then won a tie-break to level at one set all.

The 27th seed recovered and sealed victory on her third match point.

“After the second set I was a little bit confused, but my mind always said I had to focus on the court, on every point and trust myself,” said Wang, who now faces Tunisian Ons Jabeur in the fourth round.

It is Williams’ earliest exit at the Australian Open since 2006, when she lost at this stage to Daniela Hantuchova.


Opportunities to equal Margaret Court’s record of Grand Slam singles titles are running out for Williams, 38, who is in her 23rd year as a professional.

Qiang (27), will now face Tunisian Ons Jabeur, who sent former Australian Open champion Caroline Wozniacki packing in the third round in three sets on Friday.

Jabeur, ranked world number 78, won 7-5 3-6 7-5 and reached her first ever quarter-finals in a major.

Wozniacki, 29, also announced she would be retiring after the Australian Open during the off-season after struggling through much of 2019 with rheumatoid arthritis – an autoimmune disease that causes a great amount of distress on joints all over the body.

The round of 16 first timers will clash on Sunday in a yet to be decided venue.

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