Seven-time champion Serena Williams suffered for the second time in a row when she walked out of the first round of Wimbledon as she was stunned by French debut Harmony Tan at midnight in Center Court on Tuesday.
A year after the American retired, injured after what many feared would be her last game at Wimbledon, had been awaited for her return. But Tan, who is in 115th place, tore up the script with a 7-5 1-6 7-6 (7) victory.
With the Center Court roof closed for the last two sets and the time approaching the 23:00 exit ban at Wimbledon, Tan got one point when the 40-year-old Williams served in the 5-6 position on the roller coaster.
Tired Williams then seemed close to victory as she built up a 4-0 lead in the tie.
But Tan, who had never played in the main draw at Wimbledon before, let alone against one of the big teams of the game on the field, was not finished.
She kept to the slice and slow ball shots that had moved Williams through the all-encompassing duel, she took a 9-7 lead before sealing the victory when Williams scored past.
Williams, who had not played a singles match since retiring against Aliaksandra Sasnovich last year, went through all the emotions in 3 hours and 11 minutes of drama and got her fans through the fight as well.
But in the end, the lack of sharpness turned out to be too much as another search for the 24th major title broke through and the question is whether she will ever get another chance.
Tan, who had only won two major leagues in the grand slam compared to Williams’ 98 at Wimbledon alone, could hardly believe what she had done after winning by far the biggest victory of her modest career.
“I’m so emotional right now. Serena is a superstar and when I was young I was watching her so many times on TV,” the 24-year-old told the court. “For my first Wimbledon tournament, it’s a wow. Just wow.
“When I saw the draw I was very scared. Because this is Serena Williams, she’s a legend. I thought if I could win one or two games it would be very good for me.”
“Better than last year”
Although the defeat, which was the worst in her Wimbledon career, was a bitter pill to swallow, Williams said it was easier to come to terms with than last year.
“It was definitely a very long fight and a fight and this is definitely better than last year. This is a start,” Williams told reporters. “I think I did quite well physically. I think the last two stages I have been very suffering there.”
Asked if she would return to Wimbledon, Williams was humble.
“This is a question I can not answer. I do not know. Who knows? Who knows where I will pop up?”
Williams enchanted by Tan on leaving Wimbledon in the first round
Source link Williams enchanted by Tan on leaving Wimbledon in the first round