Serena Williams remains alive for her record-tying 24th Grand Slam title.
After dropping the first set Thursday, No. 11 seed Williams came back to beat 18-year-old qualifier Kaja Juvan of Slovenia, 2-6, 6-2, 6-4, to advance to the third round of Wimbledon. Williams, a seven-time Wimbledon champ, will next play No. 18 Julia Goerges in a rematch of last year’s semifinal won by Williams, 6-2, 6-4.
The owner of 23 Grand Slam singles titles, Williams is attempting to tie Margaret Court’s all-time record of 24.
Williams’ last Grand Slam title — and last title of any kind — came at the 2017 Australian Open when she beat her older sister Venus in the final. A year ago, she lost in the finals of both Wimbledon and the US Open.
Serena turned it around in time to win the second set and earned a break in the fifth game of the third for a 3-2 lead.
After being broken in the eighth game, Serena closed out the match by serving up an ace on match point.
Williams finished with 25 winners against 26 unforced errors.
Serena is seeking to become the fourth mother in the Open Era to win a Grand Slam title. Since becoming a mother in September 2017 and then dealing with serious health issues in the aftermath, Serena has played 13 events without winning a title. She is 31-9 in that span, 24-4 at majors.
William, who is worth an estimated $225 million according to Forbes, has been bothered by a knee injury this year and was forced to withdraw from three straight events because of it, and lost in the third round at the French Open to Sofia Kenin. But she says she’s much better now after resting and training heading into Wimbledon.
“This was the best I’ve felt since February,” Williams said on the BBC after her second-round match. “I pretty much had to skip most of the hardcourt season and just a couple matches on clay. I’m feeling good, so it’s just so amazing.
“I am better now. I haven’t felt this way since February. I just feel so thankful and I am happy, and now I get to play with my baby. And it’s fun, I get to do everything I love.”
Williams is in the so-called “Group of Death” that initially had seven Grand Slam champions in it. World No. 1 Ash Barty advanced to the third round by beat Belgium’s Alison Van Uytvanck, 6-1, 6-4, while reigning Wimbledon champ Angelique Kerber — who beat Serena in last year’s final — lost to American Lauren Davis, 2-6, 6-2, 6-1.
Williams, meantime, is also playing mixed doubles with two-time Wimbledon champion Andy Murray.