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Serena Williams will start Wimbledon against a 113th-ranked foe


WIMBLEDON, England (AP) — Serena Williams will begin her return to Wimbledon by facing Harmony Tan, a 24-year-old Frenchwoman who is ranked 113th and holds a career record of 2-6 in Grand Slam matches.

Williams’ placement in the women’s group was the most anticipated aspect of Friday’s draw at the All England Club. She is making her first singles appearance in any tournament since injuring her right leg and stopping play in the first set of her first-round match at Center Court a year ago.

Due to his lack of activity over the past 12 months, Williams – who has been No. 1 in the rankings – is outside the WTA top 1,200 this week and therefore could have ended up anywhere on the field and against any opponent in the first round. . She only returned to the tour this week playing two doubles matches at a tune-up event in England and received an invite to Wimbledon.

While the 40-year-old American’s record deserves ranking, the All England Club now strictly adheres to rankings to determine how they select players.

Williams has won seven Wimbledon championships, part of her total of 23 Grand Slam singles titles, a record for the professional era. Tan, meanwhile, will make her tournament debut on grass.

If Williams gets past Tan, the next match could be against Sara Sorribes Tormo, who is seeded 32nd but has never made it past the All England Club second round or major tournament third round in 19 past appearances.

The third round would potentially put Williams against a tougher test: No. 6 seed Karolina Pliskova, who was Ash Barty’s runner-up last year at Wimbledon and also reached the 2016 US Open final – beating Williams in the semi-finals there. .

Barty retired at age 25 in March and is therefore not defending his title when play begins on Monday. It also leaves open the question of which woman will have the honor of playing the first match at Center Court on Tuesday, a slot traditionally reserved for the previous year’s champion.

The two most likely choices appear to be No. 1 Iga Swiatek, who is entering a 35-game winning streak and fresh off a French Open title, or Simona Halep, who lifted the 2019 trophy at Wimbledon, beating Williams in the final, but didn’t get a chance to start things on Center Court in 2020, when the tournament was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, or in 2021, as she was injured and unable to play.

The scheduled women’s quarter-finals based on the seeds are Swiatek against No. 8 Jessica Pegula, Pliskova against No. 4 Paula Badosa, No. 2 Anett Kontaveit against No. 5 Maria Sakkari and No. 3 Ons Jabeur against No. 7 Danielle Collins.

The potential men’s quarter-finals are seeded Novak Djokovic v No. 5 Carlos Alcaraz, No. 3 Casper Ruud v No. 7 Hubert Hurkacz, No. 2 Rafael Nadal v No. 6 Felix Auger-Aliassime and No. 4 Stefanos Tsitsipas against No. 8 Matteo Berrettini.

Djokovic won his third consecutive Wimbledon title – and sixth overall – by beating Berrettini in last year’s final.

Djokovic will have the honor of starting play on center court on Monday when he takes on 75th-placed Kwon Soon-woo of South Korea.

Although Djokovic’s ranking has slipped to No. 3, he tops the men’s rankings as No. 1 Daniil Medvedev and No. 2 Alexander Zverev are out of the field. Medvedev is Russian, and all players from this country and Belarus were banned by the All England Club because of the war in Ukraine. Zverev is recovering after tearing ligaments in his right foot in his French Open semi-final against Nadal, who won his 14th championship there and the men’s record of 22nd overall in major tournaments.

Andy Murray, who has won two of his three Grand Slam titles at Wimbledon, has been drawn to face James Duckworth in the first round, while three-time major champion Stan Wawrinka takes on No.10 Jannik Sinner, and Nick Kyrgios takes on the British savage- Paul Jubb card entry.

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More from AP Tennis: https://apnews.com/hub/tennis and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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