Serena Williams composed herself after a first-set loss and a burst of anger to vanquish tenacious fellow American Christina McHale 6-7(7) 6-2 6-4 in a nail-biting second-round match at Wimbledon on Friday.
The defending champion finally ran out a winner against the world number 65, marching on in her quest to emulate Steffi Graf’s Open era record of 22 grand slam singles titles.
Williams thought she had won the first set and was walking back to her chair after a McHale forehand was called long with the world number one 5-4 and 40-30 up. To her chagrin, however, a Hawkeye challenge showed the ball brushing the baseline.
McHale went on to win the game and force a tiebreak in which a rattled Williams made a string of errors, including two double faults, before burying a forehand into the net to lose the set.
Furious as she sat down, she hammered her racket into the ground in frustration before hurling it behind her.
But the 34-year-old put the disappointment behind her and showed the battling form that has won her six Wimbledon crowns to take the next two sets, closing out the two-and-a-half hour match with three aces.
8-Venus Williams (U.S.) beat 29-Darya Kasatkina (Russia) 7-5 4-6 10-8
12-Carla Suarez Navarro (Spain) beat Marina Erakovic (New Zealand) 6-2 6-2
13-Svetlana Kuznetsova (Russia) beat Tara Moore (Britain) 6-1 2-6 6-3
1-Serena Williams (U.S.) beat Christina McHale (U.S.) 6-7(7) 6-2 6-4
21-Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (Russia) beat Yulia Putintseva (Kazakhstan) 7-5 6-1
24-Barbora Strycova (Czech Republic) beat Evgeniya Rodina (Russia) 6-4 6-0
Annika Beck (Germany) beat Aliaksandra Sasnovich (Belarus) 6-2 6-1