Venus Williams’ mixed doubles run at Wimbledon 2022 came to an end on Sunday after she narrowly failed in a second-round electric barnburner.
In a battle between two wildcard teams, the all-British duo of Alicia Barnett and Jonny O’Mara edged out former world doubles No. 1 players Williams and Jamie Murray, 3-6, 6-4, 7-6[18-16] in a matter of 2 hours and 12 minutes in front of an excited crowd on Court No. 2.
Williams, the 42-year-old WTA legend, was contesting her first singles or doubles event since competing at the Chicago Open last August. Williams returned to the tour in style on Friday as she and Murray won their first-round match.
On Sunday, however, Barnett and O’Mara cruised to victory to reach the quarter-finals, tying the longest tiebreak of any draw at Wimbledon so far this year. Belinda Bencic and Storm Sanders also won their women’s doubles first round match 7-6.[18-16] final set.
Williams of the United States and Murray of Great Britain took the early lead, leading by a set and a break at 6-3, 4-2. However, Barnett and O’Mara clinched four straight to steal the second set and tie the game.
O’Mara lost serve in the first game of the third set, but he found redemption by dismissing a return winner to break Williams and level the set at 4-4. These turned out to be the only two service breaks in the third set.
Both teams executed outrageous rallies in the decisive tiebreaker, offering their best tennis on the brink of defeat. Williams and Murray saved four match points and Barnett and O’Mara saved five as they raced back and forth until 16-16.
There Barnett and O’Mara got their fifth match point at 17-16 when a backhand from Williams found the net. The all-British pair converted that chance, finally winning the game after a volley error from Murray.
In other mixed doubles results from Sunday, Americans Coco Gauff and Jack Sock reached the quarter-finals with a 6-4, 7-6(3) win over No. 3 seeds Zhang Shuai and Nicolas Mahut. Gauff and Sock never faced a break point in their victory in 1 hour and 15 minutes.
And Samantha Stosur won the first round, as she and fellow Aussie Matthew Ebden beat Ulrikke Eikeri and Joran Vliegen 4-6, 7-6(6), 6-4. Stosur and Ebden took just over 2 hours to set up a second-round encounter against No. 1 seeds Ena Shibahara and Jean-Julien Rojer.