Seven-time winner Serena Williams lost to French rookie Harmony Tan in a late-night Centre Court epic on Tuesday, ending her chances of winning a third straight Wimbledon title.
Her return had been highly awaited a year after the American retired injured from what many assumed would be her final Wimbledon tournament, but 115th-ranked Tan shattered the plan with a nerve-wracking 7-5, 1-6, 7-6(7) victory.
When the 40-year-old Williams served at 5-6 in the nail-biting deciding set, Tan had one match point stolen away because the Centre Court roof had been closed for the final two sets and it was getting close to the 11 p.m. Wimbledon curfew.
Then, a worn-out Williams appeared to be on the verge of winning after establishing a 4-0 lead in the “super tiebreak.”
Tan, though, who had never before competed in a Wimbledon main draw match, much less played against one of the game’s all-time greats on a fever-pitch showcourt, was not through.