Wimbledon 2022 Day 2: Tan stuns Serena

French debutante wins marathon as Roland-Garros champions pass opening tests at SW19

Harmony Tan Wimbledon 2022©Corinne Dubreuil / FFT
 - Reem Abulleil

An eventful day two at Wimbledon 2022 witnessed some long-awaited grass-court returns for the stars of the men's and women's tours, as well as impressive debuts from the up-and-comers.

Here's a summary of what happened on Tuesday at SW19....

Upset of the day

“For my first Wimbledon, it’s wow, just wow,” said world No.115 Harmony Tan, struggling to find the right words to describe what she had just done.

The 24-year-old Frenchwoman, who was making her Wimbledon debut, outlasted 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams in a three-hour 11-minute tug of war that went 7-5, 1-6, 7-6(10/7) in Tan’s favour.

It was just the third Grand Slam main-draw match-win of Tan’s career, and her first tour-level victory on grass, from only two matches ever contested on the surface.

“I’m really surprised today,” confessed Tan.

“When I saw the draw, I was really scared, because it’s Serena Williams; she’s a legend. I was like, ‘Oh my God, how can I play?’ and if I can win one game or two games, it was really good for me.”

The 40-year-old Williams surprised everyone when she announced a couple of weeks ago she would return for doubles at Eastbourne and singles at Wimbledon after a year away from the tour.

Williams’ last memory at SW19 was a painful one as she tore her hamstring just six games into her opener against Aliaksandra Sasnovich last year and made a tearful exit after being forced to retire from the match.

Playing a singles contest for the first time since, Williams’ battling performance against Tan over the course of three hours was inspiring to witness, even if the result did not go her way.

The American served for the match at 5-4 in the decider and led 4-0 in the final-set tiebreak but the crafty Tan kept striking back until she pulled off the upset.

It's unclear whether that was the last match of Williams' professional career as she admitted she hasn't decided yet on what she will do next.

"That's a question I can't answer. Like, I don't know. I feel like I don't know. Who knows? Who knows where I'll pop up," she told reporters after the match.

Asked if this would be considered a satisfying ending to her Wimbledon career, Williams responded: "Obviously not. You know me. Definitely not. But today I gave all I could do today. Maybe tomorrow I could have gave more. Maybe a week ago I could have gave more. But today was what I could do.

"At some point you have to be able to be okay with that. And that's all I can do. I can't change time or anything, so... That's all I could do on this particular day."

RG champs get back to business

Rafael Nadal’s assault on a men’s all-time record-extending 23rd Grand Slam title was put to the test on Tuesday at Wimbledon, where he had to battle for three and a half hours before he overcame tournament debutant Francisco Cerundolo 6-4, 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 in first round action.

It was Nadal’s first appearance at the All England Club since 2019 and considering he did not play a grass-court warm-up tournament after winning a 14th Roland-Garros crown three weeks ago, this was his first competitive match on the surface in three years.

Nadal looked on track to post a straight-sets victory when he led by two sets and a break in the third but his 23-year-old opponent had other ideas.

Looking to notch just his second-ever tour-level win on grass, world No.41 Cerundolo broke Nadal twice to take the third, and led 4-2 in the fourth before the No.2 seed recovered and avoided a deciding set.

The victory means Nadal has joined Martina Navratilova in fourth place on the all-time list of most Grand Slam match-wins with 306.

It is also his 15th consecutive victory at the majors as he looks to become just the sixth man in history to win the first three Grand Slams of the season.

“He played at very high level for such a long time. He puts pressure, playing aggressive on both sides,” explained Nadal, who gets Ricardas Berankis next.

“For me, every victory helps. Today was a victory. I spent a long time on court. I really hope that that will helps.

“I need to keep improving things. But at the end of the match I improved. At the most critical moment, I think I raised my level. That's a very positive thing.”

Rafael Nadal Wimbledon 2022©Corinne Dubreuil / FFT

Fellow Roland-Garros champion Iga Swiatek also contested her first match since lifting the Coupe Suzanne-Lenglen in Paris three weeks ago.

The world No.1 overcame a second-set hiccup en route to a 6-0, 6-3 result against Croatian qualifier Jana Fett.

Swiatek rallied back from 1-3 down in the second set and has now won her last 36 consecutive matches, equalling Monica Seles’ winning streak from 1990. The last woman to win 36 matches in a row on tour was Martina Hingis in 1997.

The 21-year-old Pole was given the honour of opening Centre Court play on Tuesday, in the absence of last year’s champion Ashleigh Barty, and rose to the occasion in strong fashion.

“It's a huge privilege that I was chosen as the one who is going to be opening. It wasn't obvious because obviously Ash would be opening if she was here,” said Swiatek, who faces lucky loser Lesley Pattinama Kerkhove next.

“There are many great champions in the draw. I just felt, like, it's an honour, you know. I'm pretty happy it was a good match from me and a good performance for sure.”

Coco made to work

Roland-Garros finalist Coco Gauff was put through her paces by Romanian world No.54 Elena-Gabriela Ruse before booking herself a place in the second round with a 2-6, 6-3, 7-5 result.

The 18-year-old Gauff needed two and half hours to push past Ruse and faces another Romanian next: Mihaela Buzarnescu.

The world No.12 has made the Wimbledon fourth round in each of her two previous appearances at the All England Club.

“It's impossible to play the best every day. I feel like the last couple tournaments that I played, I've been playing, like, really good tennis,” said Gauff.

“Today I think even though I lost against Iga, I lost against Ons, today I played even worse in moments of the match. I think that's, like, what makes you a champion and what makes you get to that next level, is how you figure out how to win in these tough moments.

“I think today made me a better player.”

Felix shocked

Last year’s quarter-finalist and No.6 seed Felix Auger-Aliassime succumbed to extreme serve-and-volleyer Maxime Cressy 6-7(5), 6-4, 7-6(9), 7-6(5); the American claiming the first top-10 victory of his career.

The 25-year-old Paris-born American was making his Wimbledon main draw debut on Tuesday and has enjoyed a meteoric rise over the past couple of seasons, moving up by more than 100 spots in the rankings within the last 12 months.

Ranked a career-high No.45 this week on the back of a runner-up showing in Eastbourne on the eve of Wimbledon, Cressy can be a dangerous force on the grass, with his booming serve and addiction to the net.

Cressy won a stunning 95/134 (71%) of his net points against Auger-Aliassime and was successful on 88/120 serve-and-volley points.

“I’ve been working so hard and so many hours to get to that point, I had to prove a lot of people wrong, that serve-and-volley was not extinct,” said the 6’6” Cressy.

“I had to stay resilient with the serve-and-volley and that’s what I did today – that’s what got me the win.”

Cressy is one of 13 American men to advance to the Wimbledon second round, the most since 1995.

Former champions advance

Back at Wimbledon for the first time since she won the title in 2019, Simona Halep made a difficult test look easy against two-time quarter-finalist Karolina Muchova, ousting the Czech 6-3, 6-2 in 65 minutes.

Halep, who is making her 10th Wimbledon appearance, plays Belgian Kirsten Flipkens next.

Two-time winner and recent Eastbourne champion Petra Kvitova had to fight back against Italian Jasmine Paolini before making it through 2-6, 6-4, 6-2.

Stat of the day

Feliciano Lopez is the oldest man to compete in the Wimbledon singles main draw since Neale Fraser in 1975.

The 40-year-old, who lost to Dutch No.21 seed Botic van de Zandschulp in straight sets on Tuesday, admitted this was likely his last singles appearance at Wimbledon but did not reveal concrete details on when he plans to officially retire from professional tennis.

The Spaniard is confident when the time comes, he’ll be ready for it.

“I have a great family and I will have plenty of things to do, no? So I'm not afraid of this situation, honestly, because I have to be proud of everything that I have done,” said Lopez.

“I think I never expected honestly to be here at 40 years old competing and playing another Wimbledon, so I consider myself very fortunate. The day I stop, I will be happy, and luckily I will still have a lot of things to pay attention to.”

Feliciano Lopez©Cédric Lecocq / FFT

Emotional moment of the day

Heather Watson tried to hold back tears as she spoke on No.1 Court after her three-set win over Tamara Korpatsch.

She later elaborated during her press conference why the win meant so much to her.

“The last few years for me personally have been tough. I've had my ups and downs - mostly downs - like so many people have with the pandemic and stuff,” said the 30-year-old Brit, who fell 8-6 in the third in her opener against Kristie Ahn at Wimbledon last season.

“But not just that, with my tennis as a whole. The person I am, I'm a fighter. Also for my game, I'm the type of player that needs to put in a lot of work to play good tennis, a lot of hours on the court, a lot of hours in the gym.

“I think it was just a build-up of that, as well, just how much I've been putting in and not getting any reward. So after my match here last year on Court 1, that was an all-time low for me.

“Coming back, I was so happy I could change the outcome and narrative this year.”

Tweet of the day

This gem from the LTA is the perfect shout-out to Ryan Peniston after he marked his Grand Slam debut with a straight-sets win over Henri Laaksonen.