The 23-time Major champion Serena Williams experienced the second consecutive early loss at one of her beloved tournaments. Competing for the first time in a year, Serena lost to world no. 115 Harmony Tan 7-5, 1-6, 7-6 in three hours and 11 minutes, finishing her 21st Wimbledon campaign with a heartbreaking loss.
The seven-time Wimbledon winner served for the triumph in the final set closing stages and opened a 4-0 lead in the match tie break. She ran out of steam and wasted those opportunities to hit the exit door against the Wimbledon debutant from France.
Both players had more winners than unforced errors, and Serena had the ball on her racquet in most of the points, which was expected. She found her A-game in the second set and had the opportunity to emerge at the top in the decider and move closer to her 100th Wimbledon triumph.
Serena Williams fell in the Wimbledon first round to Harmony Tan in three sets.
Instead, she dropped the match tie break 10-7 to propel the rival through. Williams hit only five aces and could not make the difference with her first serve.
She won five points more thanks to the second set, but it was not enough to propel her into the second round, despite massive support on Centre Court. The American experienced an early break in the opener before rattling off four straight games for 4-2.
Tan took charge after that, pulled the break back and grabbed another at 5-5. The French player saved a break point in game 12 to claim the opener and earn a boost. Serena was the only player on the court in set number two, dominating on serve and return and improving her chances.
She broke Tan after a marathon second game that saw over ten deuces and a roller coaster. Williams raced into a 5-0 lead and wrapped up the set 6-1 on her serve to force a decider. Serena moved 3-1 up before Harmony locked the result at 3-3 for more drama.
Williams secured another break at 4-4 and served for the victory in the next one. Barely having anything left in the tank, Serena played loose shots and pushed the rival back to 5-5. The American saved a match point on serve in game 12 to introduce the match tie break and opened a 4-0 lead.
Tan claimed five straight points to erase the deficit and seized the first match point at 9-7 for the proudest moment of her career and a place in the second round.