Wednesday 26 September 2018

Serena Williams makes winning return to Wimbledon with hard fought first round victory

Serena Williams celebrates her win against Arantxa Rus on day One of the Wimbledon Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, Wimbledon. Monday July 2, 2018. Nigel French/PA Wire.
Serena Williams celebrates her win against Arantxa Rus on day One of the Wimbledon Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, Wimbledon. Monday July 2, 2018. Nigel French/PA Wire.

Jonathan Veal

Serena Williams enjoyed a successful Wimbledon comeback with a gutsy win over Arantxa Rus.

The seven-time champion did not play the tournament in 2017 as she was pregnant with her daughter, but announced her return with a 7-5 6-3 win in breezy conditions on Court One.

Williams, who pulled out of the French Open fourth round last month with an arm injury, was a break down in the second set against Rus but fought back to win in straight sets.

This is only her fourth tournament back after giving birth last September, but on this evidence she will be feared by the top seeds, with fifth seed Elina Svitolina her likely third-round opponent.

She took the first set with a well-timed break at 6-5, with Rus serving to take it to a tie-break.

It looked like Williams would have to do it the hard way as the Dutchwoman broke early in the second set to lead at 3-1, with Rus' constant chasing down of balls earning a deserved reward.

But the 36-year-old was determined to get home in time to put her daughter Olympia to bed, reeling off five successive games to get the job done in straight sets, eventually winning on her sixth match point.

It was her 15th successive win at Wimbledon, having won her previous two tournaments here.

Williams said of Rus: "She played unbelievable today, I have never seen her play like that.

"That's the game, you have to be ready for everything, I'm happy to get through that.

"I didn't play my best but I'll get there, taking it one match at a time.

"It's a great feeling, I am trying to find my bearings out there."

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