Serena Williams came into her second-round Wimbledon match as the firm favorite against the World #133. However, she surprisingly struggled in the first set, before comfortably sealing the next two to win 2-6 6-2 6-4. It was an impressive recovery, but it perfectly highlights how inconsistent the 23-time Grand Slam champion is right now. She must improve her serve quickly. Otherwise, she will struggle to win the coming rounds against much higher-ranked opponents.
Juvan completely dominated from the start. She broke early to lead 3-0 thanks to many errors from the world number #10. Serena recovered, holding serve for the next few games but lost her serve once again at 5-2 to lose the set. Juvan was completely in control throughout. She won 100% of points on her second serve and only lost 3 points on serve in total. Despite the massive difference in rankings between the two, it was Serena who looked like the player outside of the top 100.
Williams’ serve has always been her major weapon. However, recently she has struggled with it. It was no different in the first set – she hit no aces, four double faults and only landed around 50% of her first serves. In fact, Juvan clearly has a much weaker serve, yet won more points off of her first serve. In the end, the Slovenian didn’t have to do much, only hitting two winners and unforced errors, compared to Serena’s three winners and eleven unforced errors.
Williams broke early thanks to a handful of winners. She remained dominant, challenging Juvan in all of her service games and eventually achieved a double break to lead 5-2. She then served out the set easily, looking like a completely different player compared to the first set.
The 37-year-old continued to struggle on her first serve, landing less than halve until 3-1 up. As the set progressed, her serving got better and better and she started to look like the champion we are used to. The American vastly improved her second serve, only winning 31% of them in the first set to then winning around 70% in the second. Additionally, Williams improved her return, winning only 16% of return points in the first set, compared to 50% in the second.
The American came into the third set with all the momentum. Therefore, it was particularly important for Juvan to get off to a positive start. She did just so, holding serve twice to finally apply some pressure to Williams. Still, Serena’s serve was too strong and the Slovenian struggled to return anything. The pressure clearly overwhelmed the youngster, as she made several errors and gifted the break to her opponent at 2-2. She continued to struggle, barely hitting anything inside the court. The next couple of games raced by and Williams was in control but surprisingly couldn’t close the match out at 5-2. Finally, she sealed the match with an ace to win the set 6-4.
In terms of serving, this set was by far the best for Williams – she hit 6 aces, won 80% of points on her first serve and 64% on her second. She vastly improved as the match progressed, but she still has so much to improve in the third round against Goerges. The German in good form following a run to the final in Birmingham, meaning Williams will have to play much better than she did in this match. If she can’t, the big hitting German will punish her for her inconsistency.
There are still many question marks regarding her form and fitness. She hasn’t been a dominant force this year, particularly due to a recurring ankle injury. The next round will certainly be a massive test – it will be intriguing to see how she copes against one of the best in the world and where her tennis is at.