'Sluggish' Serena Williams survives another serious scare



If the definition of a champion is someone who finds a way to win when not at their best, look out for Serena Williams. Forty-eight hours after a Wimbledon women's record of 23 aces got her out of trouble against Jie Zheng, Williams gave another error-strewn performance in beating Yaroslava Shvedova 6-1, 2-6, 7-5.

"I just felt like today I was sluggish out there, just pulling myself together mentally," Williams said. "But I feel I can do a lot better, which is comforting. If this is my best, I'm in trouble."

The former Wimbledon champion will surely need to improve in her quarter-final against Petra Kvitova, the defending champion, although she has the consolation that today's match will be played on Centre Court. Yesterday, Williams was sent to Court Two, the furthest of the show courts from the locker rooms, and there were chaotic scenes as spectators mobbed her when she left the stadium.

"I was totally mobbed," she said. "I literally was almost knocked over today. The security was tons of security guards in there just going nuts and screaming. I've never heard them scream so loud."

Shvedova, the world No 65 and a wild card here, was always likely to be dangerous. On Saturday, the 24-year-old from Kazakhstan became the first woman in the Open era to win a "golden set", winning the first 24 points of her match against Sara Errani.

Shvedova struggled to find any rhythm, however, and she was 0-5 down after 20 minutes and lost the first set six minutes later. There were signs of a recovery at the start of the second, and at 3-2 Shvedova broke serve. When Williams served at 2-5, superb defence followed by a backhand pass down the line set up set point, which Williams saved; on a second the American put a forehand in the net. Williams took out her frustration on her racket, for which she was given a code violation.

The third set was tight, but Shvedova had greater difficulty holding on to her serve. She saved a break point at 3-3 and went 0-40 down at 4-4. With light rain starting to fall, Shvedova was forced to play without her glasses. She served two double faults in succession at 5-5, 15-15 and put a backhand wide on break point. Williams then completed the job with some panache.

Williams, who finished the match with a rasping backhand, said she had to pick up her game following her defeat by Virginie Razzano, the world No 111, in the French Open, her first defeat in the first round of a Grand Slam.

"I need to get over that," she said. "I was really upset."

Asked about her confidence, Williams replied: "Well, I'm Serena Williams. I'm very confident."

Kvitova also struggled yesterday, before beating Francesca Schiavone 4-6, 7-5, 6-1. The match turned towards the end of the second set, when the rain began to fall. Schiavone complained but, despite two short breaks, was told to play on.

"When it's humid, the grass, you can't play," Schiavone said later.

Less than 24 hours after their national football team lost in the final of the European Championship, the two other remaining Italians in singles competition also went out. Roberta Vinci was beaten 6-2, 6-2 by Austria's Tamira Paszek and Camila Giorgi went down 6-2, 6-3 to Agnieszka Radwanska.

Suggested Topics
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before