Both players are told that there is a short breather. The roof in Wimbledon is closed – the procedure takes eight minutes.
Williams-Tan 5-7, 0-0
Can Tan reserve the story now? First of all she has a really hard time, has to chase after a 0:30. Here, on the other hand, Williams actually has the rally under control, but then throws her forehand a little over-motivated cross into the side. Tan manages to equalize to 30 both through a return error of the 23-time Grand Slam winners, then her stopwinner attempt from the half field fails – breakball! Williams leaves this one behind with another, rather simple return error. Shortly thereafter, a set ball is ready for the Parisian – and it sits! Tan fires a forehand cross winner across the court and clears the first set.
Exciting: At 3:15 p.m. the woman from Michigan also tries to stop. However, she fails, the ball clearly goes out to the left. A little later there are suddenly two breakballs for Tan because Williams has to play a difficult half-volley from the half field and then plays the right volley from the extension almost in the direction of Tan’s head – and ultimately much too far. And then there is actually the break! Tan places several slices in the corner of the square again and again until she can really swing. With a good forehand cross she doesn’t give her opponent a chance anymore.
Important for Tan to get her serve through now, otherwise the set is lost. At 30:15 she proves her fine touch again by placing a short backhand stop behind the net. Williams sprints up, but is too late and only sends the ball wide. In the end, it’s another excellent stop that gives her the game win at 30.
Williams becomes a volcano! With each of her first three points, she screams all her tension and takes a 40-0 lead. Only at the next point, which gave her the 5: 4, does she clench her fist – she had to give up too much strength because Tan moved her back and forth beforehand.
That now seems to go smoothly for the European. Thanks to a few precise shots and a couple of Williams mistakes, she’s quickly 40-0 up. The American shortens again to 15:40, but wins the best point of the game so far: Williams sends her opponent deep into her forehand corner twice with great forehand crosses before she attacks with the longline from the half field. Tan runs into them as well and counters their smash with the backhand longline pass winner. Outstanding – it breaks out loudly from the 24-year-old.
I can not believe it! Williams serves both great at 40 to the outside, she only has to complete the return from the shortest distance into the field. Instead, she gets stuck on the net with her backhand. Here she does not move optimally and slams her forehand longline miles out – she complains that the ball has jumped. Either way: The break is gone again.
You can do it like this: At 15 both, she hurls an ace onto the court with a lot of karacho. After that, she secures the counter thanks to a mistake when her opponent tries to pass. However, she cannot use the balls that quickly – a double fault and a torn forehand cross into the open field thwart her plans. A little later she even has to fend off a breakball and shortly afterwards gets the second one in her ears because Tan duped the advanced Williams in a breathtaking manner with a lob into the square. Williams countered at the net with a strong forehand volley from the stretching movement. When she makes her debut, she wants to go back to the net, but Tan continues to play good lobs and benefits from the 40-year-old’s forehand error. She, in turn, courageously goes to the separation of the field, where she puts a fantastic short backhand volley behind the net. Debut again.
How is the French recovering from these blows? First of all, she does not lose her courage: At 0:15 she surprises Williams standing at the net with a short cross stop. After that it remains tight, at 30:30 Tan moves to the net and is lucky that her opponent’s forehand just sails wide. This is then followed by a splendid backhand cross with an incredible amount of angle – again debut with serve Tan. The American does a better job here, is much more active with her powerful forehand and then scores good points. This is how she finally manages to break to 4:2.
Williams – Tan 3:2
It seems like the world number 1204. now found more confidence in their own game. In no time at all and peppered with an ace, she pulls away to 40:0. A slight forehand error by Tan finally seals the 3:2.
Williams – Tan 2:2
Tan gives the next break chance with a double fault before a service winner puts everything back in line. But because Williams repeatedly brutally counters the too often required second serves, the Parisian cannot use her opportunity to win the game either. An exciting rally follows, in which Tan lures her opponent to the net twice with a forehand stop, in between there is a fine lob on the baseline to marvel at. In the end, Williams can bag the third breakball with a smash. She almost doesn’t have to use it herself – she does get a good forehand stop with a lot of angle, but then benefits from the extremely simple mistake on the forehand side from Tan’s half-field.
Now the Frenchwoman has to try her serve again. At 0:15, from her point of view, a longer rally develops for the first time, in which she is sent from left to right by her opponent. Williams starts the final attack ball with a forehand longline, but just pushes it out. But then she reacts great: Tan’s weak second service fires her directly to the line with a forehand cross winner to win a point. At 30 both, the 40-year-old is initially wrong in her challenge, but then fends off the game ball with loud exclamations on the net. It also gets loud afterwards when she chases another rather lax serve with a return winner for a breakball to the line. But Williams forgives that a little too lightly: Although she pushes Tan well back to the baseline, she volleys too far with the backhand from a good position. There was more in it – debut.
Strong, but very lucky point for Tan: With Williams’ serve and 0:15, she catches one in a very unconventional way and surprises the former number one in the world with the backhand stop return winner. It was definitely not planned that way. Williams, on the other hand, does better this time, taking her service game through to 30 after a few serve winners and a double fault. The fans cheer.
Williams 0-2 Tan
There are still a few slight mistakes too many for the 40-year-old. Also on serve tan she chases two backhand crosses powerfully behind the baseline. Once again the audience is cheering on their darling, maybe that gives her some self-confidence. In any case, Tan first gets two balls, then she slips away as a result of a good Williams forehand. Fortunately, she survived the brief moment of shock unscathed – and shortly afterwards got the 2-0 with a service winner.
Williams 0-1 Tan
It’s not going well for Williams. She makes a double fault and another rather avoidable mistake before loud cheers erupt after her first point – a service winner. But Tan stays cool, forces her opponent to make a mistake on the volley with a powerful forehand cross. Break!
Williams 0-0 Tan
Let’s go, on her comeback, the 23-time Grand Slam winner starts with her own serve – and starts with a simple backhand mistake. 0:15.
It’s about to start
Rafael Nadal defeats Francisco Cerúndolo in a hot four-round fight and advances to the next round. For us this means: Center Court will be free, so the women’s match will continue in a few minutes.
The outsider as a favorite
Purely by name, her opponent Harmony Tan is a clear outsider. However, since she is not only almost 1100 places ahead of the American in the world rankings, but is also in the rhythm of the game, she also goes into the action as a favorite in a way. Most recently, she prepared for Wimbledon at two different tournaments: In s’-Hertogenbosch in the Netherlands, she went home straight away in the first round. In Gaiba, Italy, she only dropped out in the semi-finals.
Because the Center Court will be occupied for some time, our match will also start with some delay. Of course, we’ll be there again in time when we serve.
A year ago, Williams slipped in the first round match here on Center Court with a score of 3: 3 in the first set against Aliaksandra Sasnovich – a thigh injury including a long injury break were the consequences. She is now returning to the tour for the first time in singles, and she is going straight to what is probably the most historic tennis stage in the world. All eyes should be on how the now 40-year-old presents herself physically and playfully.
Hello and welcome to the first round at Wimbledon! Serena Williams celebrates her long-awaited comeback on the sacred lawn today. Her opponent is Harmony Tan from France, serve is expected to be around 6:15 p.m.