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- Serena Williams says she wanted to punch a wall after her exit from the Australian Open on Friday.
- The American was beaten in three sets by Wang Qiang, who advanced to the tournament’s fourth round for the first time in her career.
- “I just have to pretend like I don’t want to punch the wall, but in reality I do,” Williams told reporters.
- Qiang takes on Tunisian Ons Jabeur for a place in the quarter-finals on Sunday.
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The American was beaten 6-4, 6-7, (2-7), 7-5 by Wang Qiang, bringing to an end her quest for a record-equaling 24th Grand Slam title.
She currently has 23, while Margaret Court is one ahead.
Qiang took the first set comfortably at the Rod Laver Arena, and could have had the match wrapped up in straight sets had it not been for an inspired turnaround by Williams at match point down in the second.
But Qiang wasn’t to be denied a memorable victory, breaking Williams’ serve in the final game of the last set to secure herself a place in the fourth round for the first time in her career.
Asked if defeat stings like it used to, Williams told reporters: “I’m a better actress as I always say, now. I’m no happier than I was 10 years ago.
“But I just have to pretend like I don’t want to punch the wall, but in reality I do.”
Describing the performance, she added: “She served well, you know. I didn’t return like Serena. Honestly, if we were just honest with ourselves, it’s all on my shoulders. I lost that match. It is what it is.
“It’s not about the tournament, it’s just like I can’t play like that. Like literally I can’t do that again. It’s unprofessional and it’s not cool.”
Qiang takes on Ons Jabeur for a place in the quarterfinals on Sunday.