Serena Williams wins 1st game back after a year out
The win means Williams will have at least one more competitive match before playing singles at Wimbledon as a wild card. The All England Club main draw begins on Monday.
It was at the Grass Slam where Williams was last seen competing in 2021. She was playing in the first round when she lost her footing and her right leg became deformed, leading Williams to retire Match.
Without competitive activity since then, she is ranked No. 1,204 in singles and was not among the top seeds announced by Wimbledon on Tuesday. Few will want to face him in the draw on Friday.
“I love tennis and I love playing otherwise I wouldn’t be here but I also love what I do off the court,” Williams said.
Williams – sporting three black spots on his right cheek – started the game slowly alongside Jabeur who marked his third Eastbourne appearance, having played singles in 1998 and 2011.
She served first – her opening serve was clocked at 90 mph (145 kph) and earned the first point after Sorribes Tormo’s answer sailed long – and held at 30.
Williams struggled at times in the first set and was exasperated after she was unable to get low enough for a Sorribes Tormo shot. It took 25 minutes before Williams hit a winner as his smash flew into the North Stand, ensuring a spectator could walk away with a souvenir.
Williams’ agility improved noticeably in the second set, although there were audible gasps from the crowd as she slipped dashing into the net.
She set a set point with a backhand winner from the baseline and led the game to a tiebreaker with a 102 mph ace.
Williams showed a desire to dive to his right to volley that could not be returned which created one of three match points. The victory was clinched when Sorribes Tormo missed a volley.
“It was so much fun playing with Ons,” Williams said in an on-court interview. “It was great. We had a lot of fun and our opponents played amazing. We were happy to stay there.
In singles, there was a big shock when top seed Paula Badosa lost 6-4, 6-3 to British wild card Jodie Burrage. Third seed Maria Sakkari was also eliminated, beaten by Anhelina Kalinina 3-6, 7-5, 6-4. Fourth-seeded Karolina Pliskova, a Wimbledon runner-up last year, was beaten by Katie Boulter of England 1-6, 6-4, 6-4.
There were second-round victories for defending champion Jelena Ostapenko and Beatriz Haddad Maia, who won back-to-back grass events in Nottingham and Birmingham over the past two weeks.
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The Associated Press