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Serena Stunned By Tan In Return At Wimbledon; Swiatek Streak At 36

The long-awaited return of Serena Williams lived up to the drama Tuesday night at Wimbledon, but it didn’t go the way she and many had hoped.

Playing her first match in 364 days, Serena found herself in a dogfight with the little-known Harmony Tan who was making her Wimbledon debut. The 24-year-Tan jumped out to a quick 2-0 leave over a slow and sluggish looking Serena, but the champion start to get the feeling back and won four straight games only to drop five of the next six amid a flurry of errors and poor serving.

With her slices off both wings and drop shots and awkward game, Serena failed to find the pace and she went down a set. There was a delay of 10 minutes to close the rood, and upon return Serena took hold. After a 20-minute, 30-point second game, Serena would get up a break and cruise to the third.

Serena would go up again by a break but lost it. And did it again and this time to the roar of the crowd served for the match at 5-4. Tan would come back to level and then took the super breaker from 4-0 down 10-7 to pull the stunning upset 7-5, 1-6, 7-6[7] in 3 hours, 11 minutes.

“I feel really tired now, but really happy,” Tan said. “I play every ball like just, put some slice, some change, some variety on the game, and it works today.

“It’s a dream because, you know, I saw Serena on the TV when I was young. My coach, Nathalie Tauziat, played her 20 years ago. So, yeah, it’s a big generation. She’s a legend.”

Serena was happy to a degree with her play.

“It was definitely a very long battle and fight,” Williams said after the marathon which ended just past 10:35pm. “It’s definitely better than last year, that’s a start.

“I think physically I did pretty good,” she added. “I feel like in just those key points, winning some of those points, is always something mentally that you have to have, that you kind of need. I did pretty good on maybe one or two of ’em, but obviously not enough.

“Today I gave all I could do, you know, today. Maybe tomorrow I could have gave more. Maybe a week ago I could have gave more. But today was what I could do. At some point you have to be able to be okay with that. And that’s all I can do.”

Serena added the US Open will be in her future.

“There’s definitely lots of motivation to get better and to play at home,” she said.

World No. 1 Iga Swiatek ran her win streak to 36 with a 6-0, 6-3 victory over Jana Fett. Fett actually led 3-1 with chances for 4-1 before Swiatek stormed back.

“It’s my first match on grass this season, so I knew it was going to be tricky,” said Swiatek.

“I’ve only played like 12 weeks in my life on grass, but the whole atmosphere, all the traditions this year, it’s really pumping me up.

“So I’m really motivated to play well here.”

Coco Gauff was just 3 of 23 on break chances but the third won set her up to serve up a brutal match win over Elena-Gabriela Ruse 2-6, 6-3, 7-5.

“Elena played an amazing match,” Gauff said.

“Both of us gave our heart. It was an electrifying match and I want to congratulate her on her tennis and her fight. I honestly like this court. It’s pretty loud but also intimate – you can hear every cheer and every gasp.

“First rounds are always the most nerve wracking. In the middle of the first set I was freaking out a bit but I thought the worst that can happen is that I lose – it’s not the end of the world. And that’s when I started to play better.”

Maria Sakkari, Petra Kvitova and Barbora Krejcikova were also winners. And Simona Halep had no trouble with Karolina Muchova in a surprisingly easy result.

Garbine Muguruza and Karolina Pliskova had their matches unfinished.

Tomorrow, the second round gets underway with Emma Raducanu colliding with Bod Homburg winner Caroline Garcia.

Angelique Kerber, Anett Kontaveit, Sakkari and Jelena Ostapneko are scheduled.

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