French player Tan eliminates Serena Williams after three-hour epic at Wimbledon

·2 min read
AP - Alberto Pezzali

French player Harmony Tan said on Wednesday she would need time to recover from the "wow" factor of beating seven-time champion Serena Williams.

The 24-year-old required three hours and 10 minutes to eliminate the former world number one who was playing in her first singles match since retiring with an injury from her first round match at the 2021 tournament.

Tan, ranked 115 in the world, took the first set 7-5 against her 40-year-old opponent.

"The ball was coming back to me slightly slowly," said Tan. "But gradually there was a lot more pace in it.

As a result of the increased intensity, Williams swept through the second set 6-1.

And the veteran broke first in the decider to lead 3-1.

But Tan, playing in her first main draw at Wimbledon, refused to buckle. And she surged back to level at 3-3.

However, she faltered at 4-4. She lost her serve and gave Williams the chance to serve for the match at 5-4 up.

But Williams fluffed her lines.

And it was the same story in the super tiebreak.

Williams took a 4-0 lead but allowed Tan to claw her way back to 5-4. And the Wimbledon debutant held her nerve from six points apiece to claim the shoot-out 10 points to seven for a 7-5, 1-6, 7-6 victory.

Scared

"When I saw the draw, I was really scared," Tan admitted after her triumph. "Because it was Serena Williams. She is a legend and how can I play her ... I thought if I can I win one or even two games, that would be good for me.

"When I was young, I saw her so many times on the TV and for my first Wimbledon ... it's wow ... just wow."

Williams will continue at Wimbledon in the women's doubles with Ons Jabeur.

The pair made their debut at the Eastbourne International tournament last week where they reached the semi-final before Jabeur pulled out with a muscle strain.

"It was definitely a very long battle and fight," Williams said following her defeat.

"It's definitely better than last year, that's a start.

"I think physically I did pretty good. 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 them, but obviously not enough."

Tan will take on the 32nd seed Sara Torribes Tormo in the second round on Thursday after the 25-year-old Spaniard breezed past the American qualifier Christina McHale 6-2, 6-1.

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