But in adversity, Williams stood firm, as she has done so many times in her career, hammering down an unreturnable serve, picking a return off her toes and then banging down another service winner to stay ahead. Four games later, the match was hers, her 6-1, 4-6, 6-4 victory sending her into the quarter-finals for the 12th time in her career.
Serena just being Serena
Williams said she just knuckled down and played solid from then on but Patrick Mouratoglou, her coach, said she showed the fighting spirit she is famous for.
“She was being herself,” Mouratoglou said. “I think that's her trademark, to be able to play those moments better than the opponent. One of her main qualities is to be a top competitor.
“Being a top competitor means being able to turn the matches around, to…raise their level either with quality of the shots or tactically to win those points and turn the match in their favour. That's what she did at 3-all.
“It was a big fight at 3-all because…in that moment Simona was playing a bit better than her, and the danger was real. She knew she should not get broken at that time, and she found a way. And then the match changed.”