Serena Williams, who has won Wimbledon seven times, lost her first Grand Slam match in a year. Harmony Tan, ranked 115th in the world, beat the tennis legend 7-5, 1-6, 7-6(7) in a match that lasted more than three hours. From the beginning to the end, the game was fiercely competitive, with neither player giving up nor giving in. There were signs of the Serena we all know. Her overhand smash was blazing, serve was solid and bouncy. Serena was passionate and intense. But at first, it wasn’t the same. She had trouble making decisions, which caused her to miss a lot of shots and make mistakes without trying. Also, she was sometimes too eager, hitting balls that went far and wide. She was ahead 4-2 in the first set, but she let it slip away as Tan won the next five games.
Williams told ESPN, “I had a few chances to win that first set.” “You know, it didn’t work out, so it was just different, totally different for me.”
Serena Williams had to face 12 deuces. She gave Tan the lead each time and then took it back so she couldn’t string together two points. She won the tug of war, which lasted 19 minutes and 43 seconds, and broke Tan’s serve. Williams needed an easy hold next, which she did not get easier but did get to go up 2-0. Then she won the next three games before Tan even had a chance to play. Williams won the second set, setting up a third and deciding set.
And, just like in the first set, Williams had a 3-1 lead and gave it all up, letting Tan take a 4-3 lead. She came back to tie it, but 4-4 is a dangerous place to be. She was right to celebrate when she won a close game to go ahead 5-4, but she also lost that lead. Tan eventually took the lead, 6-5, and Williams was in trouble. She was down by one point before pulling it back to force a tiebreak.
Williams took a 4-0 lead when she won seven points in a row after match point. Then Tan came back after Williams made a few mistakes, tying the game at 4-4. Tan, who had been a great competitor, wouldn’t go away. He wouldn’t bend to a real sports legend. She had a 5-4 lead, but the crowd cheered for Williams, telling her to dig deep. But Williams was quickly back in danger, down 9-7 and facing match point. This time, she could not pull it back.
Serena said to ESPN:
“Today, I did everything I could,” Williams said, according to ESPN. “Maybe I could have given more tomorrow. Maybe I could have given more a week ago. But I could do what I could do today.
“Also, you have to be able to accept that at some point. And I can’t do anything else. I can’t change the time or anything else, so that was all I could do that day.”
Williams had only lost twice before Tuesday in the first round of a Grand Slam tournament. The first time was at Wimbledon in 2021. Moreover, Williams didn’t want her career to end like this, but it didn’t have to be her last or most crucial moment. But in the end, she will decide.
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