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Silva v Serena as it happened

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By Tom Fordyce at Wimbledon


Silva 1-6 5-7 Serena
Trouble for Silva at 15-30 as Serena drags her left/right and then slips the forehand winner away. Silva flays a backhand wide to ship match point - and that's it, the backhand dying in the embrace of the net. Serena will be more than happy with that opener, and Silva draws warm applause as she trudges off Centre. She slightly spoils things by going through the wrong door and almost ending up in a broom, cupboard, but it's been a big day for her. Serena marches on.

Silva 1-6 *5-6 Serena
Ouch - Serena holds without Silva getting the ball back over the net. Execution only postponed.

Silva 1-6 *5-5 Serena
Silva serves to stay in the match. Big test - the new balls might help. Serena sizzles a forehand winner to pile on the pressure but mis-hits long and shouts her displeasure. A ripper off the forehand side sets up match point, saved with a nerveless drop-shot - and what a volley that is, full length to her right, to stay alive.

Silva 1-6 *4-5 Serena
Much, much better from Silva - her confidence is flowering, and a running forehad dips down to bit the edge of the line and haul her to 30-30. What can Serena find? Oh - a 116mph ace. Champion stuff.

Silva 1-6 *4-4 Serena
Oh yes - running forehand winner from Serena, hooked round and over with Silva spellbound to set up two break points. The first is saved with a fine serve and forehand deep, the second as Serena slices netwards. A double fault follows - ad saved as Serena gambles with a punchy backhand down the line that drifts just wide. Hats are doffed all around next - a super 20-stroke rally that has Silva squeaking as Serena prevails - and almost thrown in the air as Silva fights like a cornered tigress to win the game. I've gone a bit over the top with that tigress comment - a cornered cat, anyway.

Silva 1-6 *3-4 Serena
Cries of encouragement for Silva as she middles a return onto Serena's painted toenails and then buries an overhead into the furthest reaches of the court. Serena stays calm, reaches for her big thrasher and creams in two aces to seal the deal.

Silva 3-3* Serena
Four errors in a row from Serena - sloppiness abounds. Silva nods her thanks and stays level in the set. Donald Sinden update: he's left his seat, and taken his lumo jacket with him.

Silva *2-3 Serena
Serena stalks to the back of the court in thin-lipped fury as she duffs successive forehands into the net. Resolve stiffened, she serves a plateful of big and bouncy to take control again.

Silva 2-2* Serena
Silva's best game of the match by a mile. Serena's radar goes wonky for a while but Silva takes full advantage, pummelling sweetly-timed groundstrokes off both sides to draw both level and encouraging cheers from the patrons.

Silva *1-2 Serena
Monstrous serving from Serena - big wind-up, bodyweight thrown forward, racquet head accelerating through. Silva can't get close to it - even if the first serve misses, the second kicks higher than a can-can dancer.

Silva 1-1* Serena
Silva hangs on grimly like a drowning sailor to a lifejacket as Williams tosses away two points with over-hit forehands. Fist-pump from the Lissbonette as the game goes her way.

Silva *0-1 Serena
Jackie Stewart watches on behind dark shades as Serena speeds through her service game like a Red Bull at Silverstone. Ideal leg-loosener for the favourite, this.


Silva 1-6 Serena
That didn't take long, did it? Serena, her hair bouncing around behind the barricade of that bandanna, thrashes the remaining life from the set and Silva can do nothing about it. The qualifier has the stunned look of someone invited to Buckingham Palace for tea, only to be served exploding sandwiches.

Silva *1-5 Serena
Not that the fightback lasts long - Serena smashes through her service game with muscled menace. There's one out wide that Silva would need an arm-extension to reach, preceded by one that arrows into the body like a Harmison '05 lifter.

Silva 1-4* Serena
That's more like it - Silva spoons Serena some of her own medicine, moving her from one corner to the other before drilling away a forehand winner. She's on the board, and the crowd respond with affectionate applause.

From Ruth in London via text: "Can someone tell Serena that there's a roof on centre court these days, so she doesn't need to play in a rain mac."

Silva *0-4 Serena
Sighs of sympathy from the supporters as Silva slips and stares supplicatingly at the skies. She's been flattened by the Serena steamroller here - if Wimbledon was a cartoon, Silva would be walking round in pancaked 2-D fashion. .

Silva 0-3* Serena
Ooof - brutal backhand from Serena, and she's dismantling Silva here. The Portuguese is chasing lost causes all over the place but Serena just winds up another to the opposite corner. In the VIP seats, Papa Richard watches on happily in a navy-blue satin-effect tracksuit top.

Silva *0-2 Serena
Serena isn't moving that well here - crepe bandages strapped around both ankles and the right wrist. She clouts a simple forehand long to slip to 0-30 but battles back, moving her opponent around court with a fistful of punchy groundstrokes. Silva capitulates with a resigned squeak.

Silva 0-1* Serena
A few empty seats around court as Silva limbers for her Centre bow. Nerves clang like fire alarms early on, and only two forehands spanked long by Serena keep a break at bay. A backhand Silva slicer drifts long and wide, a forehand falls into the net and Serena has her skirts in front.

* denotes next server

1509: Big occasion for Portuguese qualifier Neuza Silva, this, and she's decided against marking it with any risque fashion gambles. We're almost ready.

1506: Now then - what's Serena pulled out of the Williams Wardrobe? Hello - it's a re-versioned copy of last year's raincoat. If it was a Mark Morrison song, it'd be Return of the Mac.

1503: Fed retreats, garlands tossed at his retreating soles, and in his place comes women's favourite and two-time Wimbledon champion Serena Williams.

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