Could the era of the Williams sisters as the world’s dominant forces in women’s tennis be coming to a conclusion?
Venus has been mainly irrelevant for some time, but Serena continued to carry the Williams banner proudly and for the past several years was considered unbeatable when it mattered, or even when it was an early round match in a tune-up tournament.
Serena lost some of her invincibility in 2016, surrendering the world number one ranking to Angelique Kerber of Germany and she recently found herself on the losing end in Auckland at the ASB Classic in her second-round match against world number 72 Madison Brengle.
Reports of the match claimed that Williams made 88 unforced errors over the course of 33 games and a 10-point tiebreaker. That is not a typo. We did not mean to write 8. Eighty-eight unforced errors are barely conceivable and are quite probably more than Williams produces in an entire tournament.
After the match, Williams mentioned the difficulty of playing in windy conditions, but she was quick to admit that Brengle was dealing with the same conditions.
Williams has been spelling of late, playing just her second match in four months, trying to achieve that balance pf preserving energy, whilst keeping rust at bay.