LONDON: The 23-time Grand Slam singles champion Serena Williams suffered a first-round exit at the Wimbledon Championships as she was outclassed by French Harmony Tan 7-5, 1-6, 7-6(7).
The American legend withdrew midway in the opening round at last year's Wimbledon Championships due to injury. After time spent away from the court for almost the year, the 40-year-old returned to the grass-court in London.
"It was really tough," said Williams. "I had some chances to win that first set, but it didn't work out, so it was just totally different for me."
Despite the bitter loss, Williams left the center court with an elegant smile. "It was definitely a long, a very long battle and fight. It's definitely better than last year."
Tan, plain for the first time in the Wimbledon main draw, said she had no idea how she could win the match.
"I don't know because I play every ball like just putting some slice, some change, some variety on the game, and it works today," said the 24-year-old.
Earlier, French Open champions Iga Swiatek and Rafael Nadal both reached the second round at the Wimbledon Championships on Tuesday.
The women's singles world No. 1 Swiatek from Poland extended her winning streak to 36 matches after beating Croatian qualifier Jana Fett 6-0, 6-3.
The 21-year-old didn't play any match on grass ahead of Wimbledon and said she knew "it was going to be tricky".
But the task was obviously not so difficult as she came from 1-3 down in the second set to finish the match in one hour and 15 minutes.
"I'm happy that I was able to implement all the stuff that we were practicing on," said Swiatek, who reached the round of the last 16 last year at the grass-court Grand Slam.
Swiatek will face lucky loser Lesley Pattinama Kerkhove in the second round as the Dutch saw off home wild card Sonay Kartal 6-4, 3-6, 6-1.
The 22-time Gram Slam champion Nadal started his opening match against Argentine Francisco Cerundolo in the men's singles event quite well as he won the first two sets 6-4, 6-3.
The world No. 41 Cerundolo showed some of his quality in his first Wimbledon main draw match to take the third set 6-3, but couldn't stop Nadal wrap it up in 6-4.
"I didn't play on grass for three years," said Nadal as he has expected to face some difficulties. "The last couple of games I raised up my level without a doubt. That gives me the chance to end with a victory."
Italian ace Matteo Berrettini, last year's runner-up in the men's singles has to withdraw from this year's competition ahead of his first match on Tuesday after testing positive for COVID-19.