Crime, primal scream, despair: Serena Williams' comeback from madhouse


Crime, primal scream, despair: Serena Williams' comeback from madhouse

What. For. A. thriller. Harmony Tan crashes tennis legend Serena Williams' big comeback party. The unknown 115th in the world enchants the fans in probably the craziest first round match in Wimbledon history with absurd twists.

What game. What a battle of nerves. What a comeback straight from the madhouse. Harmony Tan, ranked 115 in the world, ruins tennis legend Serena Williams' big return party. The 23-time Grand Slam winner. The grand dame of modern-day Wimbledon, who won the world's biggest tournament seven times, but who had imagined this edition quite differently after a one-year break.

The Frenchwoman throws her arms up in disbelief after converting her second match point of the game. Did she really create the sensation and did she show the American the limits in a game full of drama, crazy turns and grandiose shots with 7: 5, 1: 6, 7: 6 (10: 7)? "I don't know what to say, I'm so upset," the shy 24-year-old stammers into the microphone after her win. "When I was a kid I used to watch Serena on TV. To beat her here at Wimbledon is just wow."

Harmony Tan, the spoilsport. What is not written and reported before Serena Williams' first singles game after a year's break (thigh injury, mental problems). The whole world is looking forward to the match, the icon is finally back on the court, and then on the Holy Lawn - nobody really expects a defeat. It's against a no-name player who is serving in Wimbledon for the first time. In her entire career, she has only won two Grand Slam matches and only one three-set game at WTA Tour level. For comparison: Williams has won 170 three sets so far.

"I really surprised myself today," admits Tan himself after the match. "When I saw the draw I got really scared because it's Serena Williams. She's a legend. I thought to myself, 'If I can even win a game or two, that would be really good for me.' " Well, right at the beginning, the Parisian not only surprised all the viewers, but also the old master Williams. It becomes as quiet as a mouse in the round. Because it is not Tan who is nervous, but the 40-year-old tennis icon. She hits balls in rows.

But - and this will be a recurring phenomenon this evening - soon the tide turns. Williams shows with powerful and precise shots that she still has it. Tan's second serves of less than 100 kilometers per hour are often returned to the French with a crash in the ears of the winner. Almost everyone around Center Court at this point is of the opinion that from now on things can only go in one direction. The former world number one has found himself, takes the lead with a break and is beginning to dominate. But Tan fights back. As always in this match. She manages the re-break and takes the first set. The audience looks completely puzzled.

Then the American turns up again and fights her way through the second sentence, which lasts forever. Their break to make it 2-0 lasted almost 20 minutes. When Williams won the set 6-1, the London crowd went wild. You are here for your tennis queen. More and more, however, Tan succeeds in winning over the fans with her courageous and creative game. Again and again she surprises with perfectly played stop shots and lobs, which even Williams applauds several times.

In the final set, the game continues in the direction of Williams. At exactly the right moment, she breaks Tan and leads 5:4. But as so often in this match, the leadership of the old master does not give him any security. And as is so often the case, the Parisian somehow fights back - nobody in the ranks of center court understands exactly how. Tan gets the re-break and suddenly has the momentum on her side as well. But of course it would be far too easy for this match if Tan were satisfied with a match point on Williams' serve when the score was 6:5.

With a champion's heart, a powerful forehand volley and a primal scream, Williams saves the match point and somehow saves himself in the match tiebreak, which is played to ten points. The momentum changes again. She quickly makes it 4-0, Tan shows nerves. Now the old master has to finally bring home what is probably the craziest first-round match in Wimbledon history. The spectators freak out.

But nothing there. Williams is physically exhausted. Williams pumps. Three hours have already been played at this point. And on this evening in London, a guided tour means little. The French uses her stop balls again and actually fights back again. Suddenly Tan leads 5:4. The fans can't help but be amazed. Then it goes wild back and forth, Williams even celebrates her volley to 6: 5 with a kind of kung fu kick. But even this lead is not enough for the 23-time Grand Slam winner and Tan closes the sack 10:7 in the end.

What game. What a battle of nerves. What a comeback straight from the madhouse. The 115th in the world crashes the great Serena Williams return by sensationally fighting her way out of the supposedly most hopeless game situations in the game of her life and also keeping up playfully.

The 40-year-old American had announced before the tournament that she had not given any thought to the end of her career. Whether and how things will continue for you after the bitter comeback bankruptcy is open. "I don't know. Who can know? Who knows where I'll show up?" she says. Harmony Tan, meanwhile, will have fond memories of that insane crime thriller win for the rest of her life.

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