It was one weekend bathed in eventful twists on the tennis and golf fronts.
In the Australian Open, Serena Williams survived three grueling sets against big-hitting Aryna Sabalenka, 6-4, 2-6, 6-4, to stay on course for a record-tying 24th Grand Slam title. Williams, 39, battles next dangerous No. 2 Simona Halep, who ousted French Open champion Iga Swiatek.
But No. 3 Dominic Thiem got blown out by No. 18 Grigor Dimitrov in three cruel sets in the men’s fourth round.
Visibly spent after his five-set win over Nick Kyrgios, Thiem, the reigning US Open champ, was incredibly blanked in the third set, 6-0.
In the PGA’s Pebble Beach Pro-Am, Jordan Spieth, whose last win was in the 2017 British Open, got blunted in his return to the top by Daniel Berger.
A pity, since Spieth, 27, appeared comeback-poised after an eight-iron second shot found the hole on 16, proceeding to erect a two-shot lead with a round left.
But Spieth’s slump-ending bid died there as Berger, the world’s No. 15, played magical golf on his final hole Sunday, amazingly making a three on the par-5 18th.
And did he play his last hole with revenge in his eyes, improbably using two woods and a putter?
Just the day before, Berger drove out-of-bounds for a double-bogey that put him two shots behind Spieth.
But on Sunday, Berger, needing a birdie to win or a par to force a playoff, put on a rare display of perfection, flawless golf.
Brushing aside that nightmare the day before, he split the fairway with a 276-yard drive.
The wise would have played it safely with a layup on the next shot.
Not Berger. He reprised a Sunday Suspense Theater yet again.
The brave don’t fear to tread.
Berger went for the green from 250 yards with his 3-wood. And, from 30 feet, made his eagle putt to win with plenty to spare.
With his finishing 7-under-par 65 in difficult conditions, Berger won by two shots over Maverick McNealy (66), and by three over Patrick Cantlay (68) and 54-hole leader Spieth (70).
“I feel like I got a little bit of revenge on the 18th,” said Berger. “I hit a great drive and hit the best 3-wood I’ve ever hit in my life. The putter was the icing on the cake.”
He can say that again.