Serena Williams wins first match of comeback after yr away

As “What A Feeling” boomed round Devonshire Park, Serena Williams strode onto heart courtroom at Eastbourne to a standing ovation for her first aggressive tennis match in practically a yr.

Round 90 minutes later, followers have been on their ft once more, celebrating a comeback win for the 23-time Grand Slam singles champion on the Wimbledon warmup occasion on England’s south coast.

Williams partnered Ons Jabeur to victory over Sara Sorribes Tormo and Marie Bouzkova within the first spherical of the ladies’s doubles on Tuesday. Williams and Jabeur recovered from dropping the primary set 6-2 to win the second 6-3 after which the match tiebreaker 13-11 on their third match level.

“I caught some fireplace behind me,” the 40-year-old Williams stated. “I wanted that. It was good.”

The win means Williams may have at the very least yet another aggressive match earlier than taking part in singles at Wimbledon as a wild-card entry. Most important-draw play on the All England Membership begins Monday.

It was on the grass-court Slam the place Williams was final seen in aggressive motion in 2021. She was taking part in within the first spherical when she misplaced her footing and her proper leg buckled, resulting in Williams retiring from the match.

With no aggressive exercise since then, she is ranked No. 1,204 in singles and wasn’t among the many seeded gamers introduced by Wimbledon on Tuesday. Few will need to face her when the draw is made Friday.

“I like tennis and I like taking part in in any other case I wouldn’t be right here however I additionally love what I do off the courtroom,” Williams stated.

Williams — sporting three black patches on her proper cheek — made a gradual begin to the match alongside Jabeur that marked her third look at Eastbourne, having beforehand performed within the singles occasion in 1998 and 2011.

She served first — her opening serve was timed at 90 mph (145 kph) and earned the primary level after Sorribes Tormo’s reply sailed lengthy — and held to 30.

Williams struggled at instances within the first set, and was exasperated after she was unable to get low sufficient to a shot by Sorribes Tormo. It took 25 minutes earlier than Williams hit a winner as her smash flew into the North Stand, making certain one spectator was capable of depart with a memento.

Williams’ agility improved noticeably within the second set, although there have been audible gasps from the group when she slipped dashing into the online.

She arrange a set level with a backhand winner from the baseline and took the match to a tiebreaker with a 102 mph ace.

Williams confirmed need to dive to her proper to make a volley which couldn’t be returned that arrange one of many three match factors. The win was clinched when Sorribes Tormo miscued a volley.

“It was so enjoyable to play with Ons,” Williams stated in an interview on the courtroom. “It was nice. We had a variety of enjoyable and our opponents performed wonderful. We have been completely happy to remain in there.”

Within the singles, there was an enormous shock when top-seeded Paula Badosa misplaced 6-4, 6-3 to Jodie Burrage, a British wild card. Third-seeded Maria Sakkari was additionally eradicated, crushed by Anhelina Kalinina 3-6, 7-5, 6-4. Fourth-seeded Karolina Pliskova, final yr’s Wimbledon finalist, was defeated by Katie Boulter of Britain, 1-6, 6-4, 6-4.

There have been wins within the second spherical for defending champion Jelena Ostapenko and Beatriz Haddad Maia, who has gained back-to-back grass-court occasions in Nottingham and Birmingham over the past two weeks.

This story has been printed from a wire company feed with out modifications to the textual content.

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