Wednesday 22 November 2017

WATCH - Serena Williams slams racket repeatedly and flings it backwards into a cameraman

US player Serena Williams reacts while playing US player Christina McHale during their women's singles second round match on the fifth day of the 2016 Wimbledon Championships at The All England Lawn Tennis Club in Wimbledon
US player Serena Williams reacts while playing US player Christina McHale during their women's singles second round match on the fifth day of the 2016 Wimbledon Championships at The All England Lawn Tennis Club in Wimbledon

Nick Purewal

Serena Williams believes a potential fine in excess of £5,000 for repeatedly smashing her racquet will be worth every penny after a "warrior mode" victory over Christina McHale.

The defending champion thumped her racquet on the turf five times after losing the first-set tie break in Friday's second-round win over compatriot McHale.

The top seed then threw the racquet off court and unwittingly into a television cameraman's lap, though she later gave the offending article to a fan following her 6-7 (7/9) 6-2 6-4 win.

Minutes after sister Venus toughed out a rain-ravaged three-set battle to see off Russian teenager Darya Kasatkina, Serena Williams dug deep to book a third-round meeting with Annika Beck.

"It's definitely a fine," said Serena Williams of smashing her racquet.

"I was just really, really, really angry. I had a lot of chances (to win the first set).

"She got really lucky on some shots. She just was playing great. I was a little disappointed in myself at that point.

"I've cracked a number of racquets throughout my career. I've gotten fined a number of times for cracking racquets.

"In fact, I look at it like I didn't crack one at the French Open or Rome, so I was doing really good. I don't want to go too long without cracking a racquet."

Serena Williams continues to wrestle for form and fluency, but the 2015 champion retains supreme confidence in her ability to turn any sticky situation into victory.

This time last year she claimed her sixth Wimbledon crown to hold all four major titles at the same time.

One year on the 21-time major champion slipped perilously close to relinquishing all four crowns for the first time since 2012, having previously relinquished the US, Australian and French Open titles.

McHale seized an early break in the third set to lead 2-0, only for her fellow American to fight back and prevail.

"Mentally no one can break me," she said.

"I know mentally I'm hands down one of the toughest players out here.

"I felt like I was definitely in warrior mode (in the third set).

"I was out there playing for my life at that point, trying to play to stay in the tournament.

"I'm great with momentum but if things aren't going my way, I try to hang in there another way and win.

"I like to believe it's something really great that I can do."

Rain forced Venus Williams off court when poised at match point in her clash with 29th seed Kasatkina. Even that could not deny the 36-year-old her 79th career singles victory in SW19 however.

She prevailed 7-5 4-6 10-8 to edge home and book a fourth-round clash with the winner of the match between Carina Witthoeft and Angelique Kerber.

Precious few women's matches beat the rain on Friday, with 10th seed and two-time champion Petra Kvitova losing the first set of her second-round match with Ekaterina Makarova 7-5 before the weather intervened.

Kasatkina was born 52 days before Venus played her first singles match at Wimbledon, back in 1997, but the 2014 French Open girls' champion levelled the age gap in an engaging Court One contest.

As Williams sized up her second match point, leading 7-6 in the final set, a heavy downpour forced the players off court.

Kasatkina impressively stretched the contest further on its resumption, only for Williams to grind home on her next opportunity for victory - and then meet that triumph with relief.

"It was like a Hollywood script," said Venus Williams.

"All of a sudden the rain came. I thought, 'Really?'

"But I felt really confident coming back out at match point. I felt like I could take it. But she played too well.

"She's a quality player. She played amazing. Definitely my biggest problem outside of the rain was her play."

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