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Serena Williams began – and ended – her Wimbledon comeback after 364 days out of singles competition and looked very much like someone who hadn’t competed in a while. She missed shots, shook her head, rolled her eyes.

In between, there were times when Williams played very much like someone whose strokes and wills have taken her to 23 grand slam titles. She hit scorching serves and punches, celebrated with arms raised.

Returning to the site of her last singles match, which she had to retire after less than a set on June 29, 2021 due to injury, and seven of her major championships, the 40-year-old Williams came within two points of victory. † But she couldn’t finish the job against an opponent making her Wimbledon debut, bowing with a 7-5, 1-6, 7-6 (10-7) loss to 115th-ranked France’s Harmony Tan.

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