Thursday, June 23, 2022

By George Sessions, PA

Serena Williams made it two from two on her comeback from 12 months out after she and new doubles partner Ons Jabeur secured a 6-2 6-4 victory over Shuko Aoyama and Chan Hao-ching on Wednesday.

The 40-year-old played her first match in the Rothesay International Eastbourne on Tuesday since she sustained a serious injury to her right leg at Wimbledon last year and despite a rusty start showed flashes of her brilliance.

Williams stepped things up a notch a day later with an array of winners and aces to send a warning to her rivals ahead of a latest pursuit of a 24th grand-slam title.

Rothesay International Eastbourne – Day Five – Devonshire Park
Serena Williams (left) showed flashes of her brilliance as she and Ons Jabeur continued their progress in Eastbourne (Gareth Fuller/PA)

It took only two minutes for the American to send down an ace and several volleys minutes later provided the first break.

More followed with the opening set wrapped up in 25 minutes much to the delight of those still left inside Centre Court with the sun fast setting.

Shadows had engulfed the Devonshire Park venue by now but Aoyama and Chan made more of a fight of proceedings in the second.

Rothesay International Eastbourne – Day Five – Devonshire Park
Williams had to defend a number of break points on her way to victory (Gareth Fuller/PA)

Williams had to defend a number of break points on serve and yet showed the type of steel which has made her a fierce competitor for close to three decades.

Another winner from the veteran set up break point in the ninth game of the second and it gave the new-look doubles team a chance to close within one game of the last four.

One more ace for Williams’ tally helped get her and Jabeur over the line and they are now just two victories away from securing silverware at Eastbourne.

“I think we played together much better today although I felt we played really well together yesterday. Ons really helped me out playing so good,” Williams said on court.

Quizzed on how she celebrated yesterday, the seven-time Wimbledon champion joked she went for a dip.

Williams said with a smile: “I went to the beach and for a swim like everyone here in the cold water, no, no way. I didn’t do much. I just played with my baby (Olympia). She is so fun.”

Jabeur and Williams are set to return to Devonshire Park on Thursday for their last-four encounter.

“I didn’t know we are in the semi-final. It is super fast but it is great for us,” Jabeur insisted.

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