Sunday, June 26, 2022

Williams continues injury comeback with second win at Eastbourne

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Serena Williams made two-of-two on her 12-month comeback after she and new doubles partner Ons Jabeur clinched a 6-2, 6-4 win over Shuko Aoyama and Chan Hao-ching on Wednesday.

The 40-year-old played her first match at the Rothesay International Eastbourne on Tuesday since sustaining a serious injury to her right leg at Wimbledon last year, and despite a rusty start, showed flashes of her brilliance.

Williams upped the ante a day later with a string of winners and aces to warn their rivals of the recent quest for a 24th Grand Slam title.

It took just two minutes for the American to put down an ace, and a few minutes later volleys gave the first break.

More followed, with the opening set being completed in 25 minutes, much to the delight of those who remained in Center Court with the rapidly setting sun.

Shadows had engulfed the Devonshire Park venue by now, but Aoyama and Chan made more of it in the second fight.

Williams had to defend a number of break points on serve and still displayed the kind of steel that has made her a fierce competitor for nearly three decades.

Another winner from the veteran set up in the ninth game of break point two, giving the redesigned doubles team a chance to close within a game of the last four.

Another ace to Williams’ record helped her and Jabeur cross the finish line and they are now just two wins away from claiming a silver at Eastbourne.

“I think we played a lot better together today, although I felt like we played really well together yesterday. Ons really helped me play so well,” Williams said on the pitch.

When asked how she celebrated yesterday, the seven-time Wimbledon champion joked she went swimming.

Williams said with a smile: “I went to the beach and went for a swim in the cold water like everyone here, no, no way. I did not do much. I just played with my baby (Olympics). She is so much fun.”

Jabeur and Williams will return to Devonshire Park for their round of 16 encounter on Thursday.

“I didn’t know we were in the semifinals. It’s super fast, but it’s great for us,” said Jabeur.

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