The return of the 23 time Grand Slam Champ Serena has warmed up the hearts of romantic tennis fans. I could see why the Wimbledon organizers granted her this wild card. Wouldn’t it be just made in the headlines? Serena wins Wimbledon on center court 9 July to finally equal the long standing record of most Slams. That would be something. Except for the fact that Serena hadn’t played a singles match for over a year and we all know that in sports you have to earn your dues. This was clearly evident in set one of this one against Harmony Tan, a French player whose career has been mostly spent in the ITF circuit. The early break gained by Harmony was a good advantage to get especially in a high pressure match like this. Serena as the set went on went to what took her to those multiple titles, overwhelm the opponent with power groundstrokes. Watch 3-2 deuce, Harmony feeling the squeeze on the baseline. Tan’s movement reminds me a lot of Leylah Fernandez. Like Leylah she is a good baseline grappler(Leylah has a more mixed bag), just check out the decisive break of the first set at 5-5(15-40). Talk about a cool head, not pulling the trigger early , making Serena work for the extra shot and justly got her reward.
Second set saw the Serena of old doing a cameo. A love service game to start with set the tone for the American. Being a good baseliner can be a double edged sword especially on the modern Wimbledon grass. On the one edge you can run your opponent rugged without expending much energy. On the other if the player on the other side of the net is good at attacking it early you may as well pack up your racquets early and head home. Check out 1-0 Serena at deuce. This easy 6-1 set win for Serena was what she needed, short and little by way of break points given away. The key stat from the set was the huge slice of points won by Serena on second serve(90%), showing that the nerves from set one were well gone. Set three began with the American getting her nose in front with an early break. With the light slowly disappearing(no night games at Wimbledon and we are in 2022), it looked as though the match would finish early with light to spare. Check out this shot of the match from the former world number one at 2-1(15-15). Not only was the backhand well disguised, the wrist action was a sight to behold getting the right angle on the shot. One might say 4-4(30-15) overshadowed that shot, I might not be able to disagree. Those Hollywood shots kind of overshadowed the fact that Tan was ultra competitive in this set. She did well to stare down the barrel of Serena service game for match at 5-4 and come out unscathed. Serena was tiring, court rustiness finally catching up?. Champions Tie break time(first one to ten). A healthy 4-0 lead wasn’t enough to seal the match for Serena. One point that will eat away at her well after this one was at 4-1. She got to the drop shot with mountains to spare but he shot choice to go down the line wasn’t the best one with a wide open left court to aim at. The victory for Harmony gets her a second round match against Spaniard Sorribes Tormo seeded 32.