The world's No. 72 player upset Serena Williams thanks to this hilarious strategy
American Madison Brengle was just as surprised as everyone else
Serena Williams entered the ASB Tennis Classic in Auckland as a tune-up for the upcoming Australian Open, and apparently she needed it.
Williams was uncharacteristically awful on Wednesday, committing 88 unforced errors on her way to a 6-4, 6-7 (3), 6-4 second-round loss to world No. 72 Madison Brengle. Williams was clearly disappointed with the match, describing her own performance as "obscene" and "unprofessional" afterward.
Brengle, however, had a different theory as to why she was able to beat arguably the best tennis player of all time.
In case you didn't catch that, here's what Brengle said:
"If I play even uglier off the return, is that a good idea? Because if I'm actually hitting I feel like she's like, 'Oh God, this is nice,' and then she hits a winner. So maybe, like, even worse. Because I think she's surprised at how bad I am."
Now that is some refreshingly honest analysis -- and it poses an interesting theory. When the talent gap between you and your opponent is massive, instead of trying to raise your play to their level, just go from bad to worse.
It's been known to work in baseball when it comes to pitchers -- the ones who throw over 95 MPH tend to cause timing issues, while batters generally have no trouble timing the ones who throw 90-93. But, if the pitcher drops below that threshold to say, 85-88 -- BOOM, the hitter has trouble timing it again.
All this to say, Brengle may be onto something here.
It was also Williams' first tournament since announcing her engagement, but there's no telling whether or not that affected her performance.
Williams will look to bounce back at the Australian Open, the first Grand Slam of the season, beginning on January 16. With a win, Williams would break her current tie with Steffi Graf for the most Grand Slam singles titles in the Open era.
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