WTA Auckland: Madison Brengle shocks Serena Williams

WTA Auckland: Madison Brengle shocks Serena Williams

The lower-ranked American produced the first big upset of 2017, stunning the 22-time major champion.

John Lupo

A capacity crowd turned out to see Madison Brengle deliver the year's first stunning result, knocking out Serena Williams 6-4, 6-7 (3), 6-4 in the second round of the ASB Classic in a high quality two-hour-and-13-minute-affair. Brengle is in just her third WTA-level quarterfinal within the last year.

Feisty Brengle takes opening set

Few could've seen this result coming as Williams dropped just one game to her lower-ranked compatriot 18 months ago in Madrid and she appeared to be on her way to something similar, taking a 4-1 lead, but Brengle made her work, especially on break points.

Brengle's crafty game was beginning to have an impact and she began to fight back, helped by errors from the former world number one. Despite not doing much in this stretch, the 72nd ranked player in the world rattled off three games in a row.

Now at four games all, Williams continued to misfire and this allowed Brengle to reel off two more games in a row to take the opening set 6-4 in 36 minutes.

Williams gamely battles to take the second set

The first part of the second set started in the same vein as the first as Brengle continued to keep pace with Williams, the latter dictating the outcome of the points based on either a winner or unforced error. The first six games were won by the server.  Brengle took the initiative as an frustrated-looking Williams gave the first break of the set to her counterpart with yet another unforced error, this time on a drive volley.

Two holds from the biggest win of her career, Brengle encountered what so may have: a resurgent Williams, who woke up from her slumber from the first 16 games.

Once she broke right back, the 22-time Grand Slam champion emphatically consolidated the break at love to edge her nose back in front. Soon thereafter, Williams would earn her first set points of the contest but when the time came to take them, she was unable to convert any of her four opportunities, allowing Brengle to escape and the set was even at five.

With both players able to hold their serves from there, a second-set tiebreak ensued, with Williams jumping out to an early lead and never looking back, eventually converting her sixth set point of the contest to force a decider.

Brengle completes the upset, notches first career win over Top 3 opponent

The final set went with serve until the crucial 10th game. Having not been able to make any progress on the Williams serve all set, Brengle made one desperate push with her compatriot under pressure, and it worked. Securing a 15-40 lead, suddenly, the world number 72 saw herself staring down two match points to secure the biggest win of her life.

But while the former world number one was able to save both match points, the second of which with a stunning crosscourt angle, she was unable to save a third as a double fault sealed her fate, giving Brengle the victory.

"Honestly, I have no idea [how I just beat Serena],“ Brengle said, while still in a complete state of shock in her post-match interview. ”I just played one point at a time and tried to run down every ball. It was difficult conditions with the wind. I just tried to fight for every point.“