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When Serena Williams won her first title as a parent earlier this month in Auckland everything looked set up for her to do an Antipodean double at the Australian Open.
So the blow was all the more shattering today when she failed to reach even the second week of the season's first Grand Slam, beaten 6-4 6-7 7-5 by Chinese number one Qiang Wang, the 27th seed for the tournament.
Player - Game - Williams - US - Open
The same player had won just one game when she played Williams in the US Open quarter final back in September, another event she was strongly favoured to win.
The 38 year-old American now looks increasingly unlikely to win that elusive 24th Major as the years tick by, and the changing of the guard in women's tennis becomes more apparent.
Roland - Garros - Suit - Requirements - Clay
Outside Roland Garros, which is her weakest suit given the requirements of clay, going out of the third round here was Williams's worst result at a Major since Wimbledon 2014, when she lost at the same stage.
Williams blamed herself afterwards, saying: 'I just made far too many errors to be a professional athlete today.'
Tour - Fun - Slams - Year
She insisted that she can still win big again, and added; 'I definitely do believe that or I wouldn't be on tour. I don't play just to have fun. To lose is really not fun, to play to lose, personally. I seem to do well the last two slams of the year.
'I have won them all several times. Each one is definitely an opportunity for me to go out there and win. It's not even about the slams, it's about just me playing good tennis, and I didn't do that today. That is more disappointing. So it's not even about the...
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