Wimbledon 2012: Serena's wail of relief after flawed success
Serena Williams is through to the second round of Wimbledon. And boy did she sound happy to be there.
When her drive was not returned by her opponent Barbora Zahlavova Strycova out on Court No 2, she clenched her fist, sank to her knees and let out a keening wail of triumph to celebrate her 6-2, 6-4 victory -- a cry that might well have been heard over on the show courts that she feels are more fitting venues for a player of her status.
After losing in the first round in the French Open at Roland Garros, she seemed more than relieved that normal service had been resumed at the All England Club -- especially after the swift demise of big sister Venus on day one.
"Definitely a little relief and I think I was letting out a lot of cries," she admitted afterwards. Though for Serena, normal is not quite what it used to be. This was not the shock and awe Williams of old.
True, she arrived on court in a flouncy, fancy trouser suit and double-breasted short coat, the latest in her long tradition of personalised court attire. True, beneath her couture her forearms still resemble those of Popeye.
But anyone likely to face her in the later rounds here will have viewed a video of this match with some optimism. Serena looked anything but invincible. On the several occasions Zahlavova Strycova had her scurrying around the court, Serena was in trouble.
She was fortunate that her rival so rarely had sufficient control of this match to push the ball out to the extremities and send her chasing.
So it was Serena -- despite occasionally being rattled -- who progressed while Venus has departed.
"I always want to play better if she is out of a tournament," she admitted of her sister, whose illness is clearly reducing her form.
Those left in the draw should be warned: she might be less mobile, she might be less dominant. But an angry Serena remains a dangerous opponent. (© Daily Telegraph, London)