The first two days of Wimbledon have been littered with slow starts for the big names but none enjoyed quite the charge of comeback queen Serena Williams.
A champion rises Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson has made a habit of promoting the #teambringit hashtag on Twitter. Serena Williams clearly smelt what he was cooking as a third set charge by the defending women’s champion ensured victory over the gutsy Aravane Rezai. After laboring to a 6-3 win in the opening set, Serena reverted back to the disjointed play that plagued her at Eastbourne last week. Rezai capitalized by claiming the second set 6-3 and suddenly the Queen of SW19 looked to be on the ropes. Defeat here and the woman who has dominated for the last decade would find herself slipping out of the world’s top 500. Then, she brought it.
The Serena of old awoke with merciless fury. There was venom in her shots, focus in her serve, and a relentless desire to chase down the ball. Aravane Rezai was quickly learning that she had angered the biggest dog in the yard. It was as beautiful as it was brutal. To the surprise of no-one, Serena cried with joy in her first post-match interview. Having gone through so much in the past year, she finally had a chance to release her emotions. Simona Halep is next up for the defending champion. Don’t expect an upset there.
Middling Murray The indoor setting, created by the roof on Centre Court, for Andy Murray’s four set victory over Daniel Gimeno-Traver was special. The display by the Scotsman was anything but. When I warned that the #4 seed had the toughest route of the big guns to the semi finals, I didn’t expect him to have a tough outing on the first day. Gimeno-Traver looked much sharper in the early going and fully deserved to take the first set 6-4. Murray eventually took charge winning the second 6-3 before finishing off the Spaniard 6-0 6-0 in the third and fourth sets. If Murray plans on going to the semi-finals this year, he needs to get off the court faster to preserve his energy. The #4 seed enjoyed some good news today as #27 seed Marin Cilic went out to Ivan Ljubicic, ensuring Murray won’t see another seed until at least the fourth round.
Wake up Rafa It was easy in the end but Rafael Nadal, the #1 seed and defending men’s champion, took some time getting started against Michael Russell. The American, ranked #90, has a habit for startling big names early and he broke Nadal in the first set. The Spaniard didn’t wait around to fight back however as he finished off Russell quickly, 6-4 6-2 6-2. After looking tired at Queen’s, it will be reassuring to Tennis betting fans to see Nadal back on top pace.