Emotional Serena Williams withdraws from Wimbledon with ankle injury

Jonathan Davies in Wimbledon 30 Jun 2021
Williams left Centre Court in tears on Monday (Adam Davy/PA Wire/PA Images)

An emotional Serena Williams has been forced to withdraw from Wimbledon after sustaining an ankle injury in her first-round clash with Aliaksandra Sasnovich on Tuesday.

Sporting heavy bandaging on both ankles and her right thigh, the seven-time champion appeared to have made a solid start in her latest quest for a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam title.

Williams broke her opponent in game four, but the alarm was raised in the next following an awkward fall on her left ankle that culminated in a lengthy medical timeout.

The sixth seed valiantly attempted to soldier on against the world number 100, who was looking to end a five-match losing run on grass.

However, another slip in game seven spelt an early retirement for the 39-year-old and she limped out of SW19 in tears.

It was the second match of the day on Centre Court to have prematurely ended due to an injury.

An untimely knee problem halted the momentum of Adrian Mannarino, who was locked at two sets all in an entertaining clash with Roger Federer.

The eight-time champion appeared in danger of bowing out in the first round of a Grand Slam event for the first time since 2003; the year of his maiden Wimbledon triumph.

Federer took the opening set 6-4, but was pegged back as Mannarino won the next two 7-6 6-3.

The Swiss dug deep to level in the fourth before his opponent was forced to retire.

Elsewhere, Venus Williams claimed her first victory in four months after seeing off Mihaela Buzarnescu 7-5 4-6 6-3.

Appearing in the 90th Grand Slam main draw of her career, the 41-year-old had suffered five successive first-round exits, but stopped the rot to advance to the second round.

Top seed Ashleigh Barty also needed a deciding set to overcome Carla Suarez Navarro, who was making her final appearance at Wimbledon before retiring later this year.

French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova beat Clara Touson 6-3 6-2, while Karolina Pliskova and Coco Gauff also advanced in straight sets against Tamara Zidansek and Francesca Jones respectively.

Roland Garros semi-finalist Maria Sakkari required just 49 minutes to overcome Arantxa Rus 6-1 6-1, as 13th seed Elise Mertens saw off Harriet Dart 6-1 6-3.

British number one Dan Evans beat Feliciano Lopez 7-6 6-2 7-5, while fourth seed Alexander Zverev also breezed past Tallon Griekspoor in straight sets.

Resuming their matches from two sets up after play was suspended on Monday due to poor light, Diego Schwartzman and Fabio Fognini wasted little time in wrapping up straight-set victories over Benoit Paire and Albert Ramos-Vinolas respectively.

Elsewhere, 10th seed Denis Shapovalov required a deciding set to edge past Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-4 4-6 6-3 5-7 6-4, but 15th seed Alex de Minaur was beaten in four sets by America’s Sebastian Korda.

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Wimbledon 2021 Schedule of Play

Tuesday June 29

First Round

CENTRE COURT
Ashleigh Barty 6-1, 6-7, 6-1 Carla Suarez Navarro
Roger Federer 6-4, 6-7, 3-6, 6-2 (Ret) Adrian Mannarino
Aliaksandra Sasnovich 3-3 (Ret) Serena Williams

NO.1 COURT
Tallon Griekspoor 3-6, 4-6, 1-6 Alexander Zverev
Angelique Kerber 6-4, 6-3 Nina Stojanovic
Jan-Lennard Struff 4-6, 1-6, 6-4, 6-7 Daniil Medvedev

NO.2 COURT
Dan Evans 7-6, 6-2, 7-5 Feliciano Lopez
Diego Schwartzman 6-3, 6-4, 6-0 Benoit Paire
Francesca Jones 5-7, 4-6 Coco Gauff
Lucas Pouille 7-6 Cameron Norrie – play suspended

NO.3 COURT
Mihaela Buzarnescu 5-7, 6-4, 3-6 Venus Williams
Clara Tauson 3-6, 2-6 Barbora Krejcikova
Oscar Otte 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-7, 13-12 Arthur Rinderknech

COURT 12
Denis Shapovalov 6-4, 4-6, 6-3, 5-7, 6-4 Philipp Kohlschreiber
Christopher O’Connell 4-6, 6-2, 7-6, 4-6, 3-2 Gael Monfils – play suspended
Nick Kyrgios 6-4, 4-6, 3-6, 6-1, 3-3 Ugo Humbert – play suspended

COURT 18
Elise Mertens 6-1, 6-3 Harriet Dart
Fabio Fognini 7-6, 6-2, 6-4 Albert Ramos-Vinolas
Kiki Bertens 3-6, 4-6 Marta Kostyuk
Marin Cilic 7-6 Salvatore Caruso – play suspended

COURT 4
Tereza Martincova 6-2, 4-6, 6-1 Alison Riske
Varvara Gracheva 7-6, 4-6, 3-6 Petra Martic
Cristian Garin 7-6, 3-6, 6-3 Bernabe Zapata Miralles – play suspended

COURT 5
Ons Jabeur 6-2, 6-1 Rebecca Peterson
Soonwoo Kwon 6-7, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 Daniel Masur
Anna Blinkova 6-2, 6-2 Timea Babos

COURT 6
Zhizhen Zhang 6-4, 6-7, 7-6, 3-6, 2-6 Antoine Hoang
Jessica Pegula 6-3, 6-1 Caroline Garcia

COURT 7
Donna Vekic 6-1, 6-4 Anastasia Potapova
Marie Bouzkova 5-7, 4-6 Vera Zvonareva
Tennys Sandgren 6-4, 6-7, 6-1, 6-3 Norbert Gombos

COURT 8
Pierre-Hugues Herbert 6-7, 6-4, 6-7, 7-5, 6-8 Pablo Andujar

COURT 9
Lin Zhu 6-7, 6-3, 6-3 Mona Barthel
Pablo Cuevas 7-5, 4-6, 4-6, 4-6 Laslo Djere

COURT 10
Ann Li 4-6, 6-7 Nadia Podoroska
Lloyd Harris 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 Ricardas Berankis
Marc Polmans 6-2, 7-5, 4-6, 6-1 Yen-Hsun Lu

COURT 11
Dusan Lajovic 6-4, 7-5, 3-6, 4-6, 6-3 Gilles Simon
Elena Vesnina 7-5, 6-1 Martina Trevisan

COURT 14
Karolina Pliskova 7-5, 6-4 Tamara Zidansek
Liudmila Samsonova 6-4, 6-2 Kaia Kanepi
Hubert Hurkacz 6-4, 7-6, 6-1 Lorenzo Musetti

COURT 15
Maria Sakkari 6-1, 6-1 Arantxa Rus
Misaki Doi 6-2, 3-6, 7-9 Claire Liu
Richard Gasquet 7-6, 4-6, 6-2, 6-1 Yuichi Sugita
Nao Hibino 6-1, 5-7 Bernarda Pera – play suspended

COURT 16
Shelby Rogers 6-1, 5-7, 6-3 Samantha Stosur
Madison Brengle 3-6, 7-5, 10-8 Christina McHale
Andrea Petkovic 6-4, 6-3 Jasmine Paolini
Filip Krajinovic 7-6, 6-4, 7-5 Alex Bolt

COURT 17
Sebastian Korda 6-3, 6-4, 6-7, 7-6 Alex De Minaur
Egor Gerasimov 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 6-2 Jay Clarke
Juan Ignacio Londero 7-6, 6-0, 4-6 Gianluca Mager – play suspended