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Serena Williams avoids drama in straight-set, round-one Wimbledon win
The 23-time Grand Slam champion prevailed over Giulia Gatto-Monticone on Tuesday, 6-2, 7-5.
Published Jul 02, 2019
Still searching for an elusive 24th Grand Slam singles title, Serena Williams prevailed over Giulia Gatto-Monticone on Tuesday, 6-2, 7-5, to move into the second round of Wimbledon.
After bowing out in the third round of the French Open to Sofia Kenin, Serena alluded to taking a wild card into one of the Wimbledon tune-up tournaments to get more reps and get accustomed to the change in surface. She ended up not entering any event, despite referencing the issue in her pre-tournament press conference. (Watch in full above.)
“I was just dealing with some bad injuries all year,” said Serena. “And, you know, so I just hadn’t had enough match play quite frankly. I finally feel like I found some good results.”
Against Gatto-Monticone, Serena came out of the gates flying, closing out the first set in 29 minutes despite a minor hiccup when attempting to serve out the set at 5-1. After settling in, Gatto-Monticone grew more comfortable against her accomplished opponent, staying with Williams from the baseline and giving her more difficult shots to contend with. In turn, Serena became tight, losing her timing and footwork. She failed to serve out the match at 5-3.
At 6-5, the 31-year-old Italian held a game point, but Williams turned it around in time to give herself a much-needed straight-sets win.
Serena, who gave birth to daughter Olympia in September 2017, hasn’t won a title since returning from maternity leave about 15 months ago. She’s gone deep at major events, reaching both Wimbledon and US Open finals in 2018, and reaching the quarterfinals at this year's Australian Open. But in each instance, she's failed to close; most recently, she collapsed from a 5-1 third-set lead over Karolina Pliskova, albeit after turning her ankle.
While the results haven't reflected Serena's improved health, it's one area where she's appeared to have turned a corner.
“I’m happy because Serena is injury free finally,” Serena’s coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, said in an interview from Wimbledon on Friday. “She was in pain for three months, so it’s just a big, big difference.”
Up next for the American is Kaja Juvan, who defeated Karolina’s twin sister, Kristyna, 6-4, 2-6, 6-4.