In a three-plus-hour epic against Serena Williams, Harmony Tan showed tremendous resolve to edge the American in three absorbing sets. Although rusty, Serena showed glimpses of her brilliance, but it wasn’t enough to down the inspired Tan. Piercing the 40-year-old’s defences time after time, the unheralded Frenchwoman halted Williams’ comeback run in front of a raucous Centre Court crowd. After nicking the first set 7-5, she was picked apart by the 40-year-old in a lacklustre second. Serena would race into the lead in the decider, but Tan pulled herself from the brink thrice over, eventually edging the third set tiebreak 10-7 from 0-4 down.
Turning pro in 2012, the 24-year-old-of Cambodian Chinese and Vietnamese descent- made her Grand Slam debut in the doubles section of the 2017 French Open. It was a brief dalliance on the Paris clay as she and her partner Audrie Albie were sent packing by the unseeded pair of Pauline Parmentier and Yanina Wickmayer. Her singles bow in Grand Slam tennis came courtesy of a wildcard in the 2018 US Open. Dispatched in straight sets by Canadian Eugenie Bouchard, Tan found little harmony in her early goings at Grand Slam tennis.
With 8 ITF singles career titles to her name- from her first in Algeria in 2015 to her last at Loule, Portugal in 2021- Tan has skirted around the middle rungs of the tennis calendar. Rising to a career-high of 90 in April 2022, a string of bad results in Indian Wells, Miami and Madrid pushed her outside the top 100 spots. Ranked 115 going into her first-round tie, Tan refused to yield to Serena and her occasionally frazzled nerves to clinch a most famous victory in her first appearance at Wimbledon. Speaking to BBC after the match, she was visibly exultant:
“I don’t know, I am so emotional now. I don’t know how to say now because it’s a superstar and when I was young, yeah, watching her so many times on the TV and yeah for my first Wimbledon, it’s wow, just wow!”
“When I saw the draw, I was really scared. Because it’s Serena Williams, she’s a legend. I was like, oh my God. How can I play? If I could win one game, or two games, it’s really good for me,” admitted Tan.
After her glowing Centre Court showing, Harmony must shake off the happy hangover before her first-round doubles tie alongside German partner, Tamara Korpatsch against the 15th-seeded duo of Raluca Olaru and Nadiia Kichenok.