Serena Williams was defeated in her first singles in a year on Tuesday, losing 7-5, 1-6, 7/6 (10/7) to unseeded Harmony Tan in the first round of Wimbledon. “For my first Wimbledon it’s wow — just wow,” Tan said. Seven-time champion Williams was cheered as she walked onto Center Court for the evening game, but she looked rusty and broken in her first service game. Williams, well below her imperious best and apparent lack of fitness, rebounded and broke in the fourth game at 2-2, backed by a supportive crowd at the All England Club.
The pair traded further breaks, but Tan, who was in 115th place, broke again in the 11th game and kept her nerve to end the set 7-5.
Williams, a 23-time Grand Slam singles champion, broke from the second set after a massive second game to make it 6-1.
The American broke into the decider first but Tan tied the score at 3-3.
Williams broke again in the ninth game and threw her arms in the air cheering, but faltered as she served for the game.
She got a match point on her own serve in the 12th game, but saved it with a forehand volley, ending the match in a tiebreak in the third set.
Williams shifted up a gear and took home the first four points as the match, under the Wimbledon roof, ticked past three hours.
But her French opponent was still not down and out and won the next five points to move forward.
Williams, looking out of breath, couldn’t find an inspiration net as he faced a second match point.
“I’m so emotional right now,” Tan said. “She’s a superstar. When I was young, I watched her on TV so much.
“When I saw the draw I was really scared. She’s such a legend. I thought if I can win one game, two games, that would be really good for me.”
Twelve months ago, Williams retired from her first round Wimbledon game in tears after an injury and hadn’t played singles since Tuesday.
There were doubts as to whether the former world number one – who has fallen to 1,204th in the ranking after her period of inactivity – would return to the sport.
But she warmed up by teaming up with Ons Jabeur in doubles at Eastbourne last week.
Williams, 40, won the last of her seven Wimbledon singles titles six years ago, but reached the final in 2018 and 2019.
The American, who received a wildcard into this year’s tournament, is stuck on 23 Grand Slam victories – painfully one less than Margaret Court’s record.
(This story was not edited by DailyExpertNews staff and was generated automatically from a syndicated feed.)
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