Venus Williams' mixed doubles run at 2022 Wimbledon came to an end on Sunday after falling just short in an electric second-round barnburner.
In a battle between two wildcard teams, the all-British pairing of Alicia Barnett and Jonny O'Mara edged former Doubles World No.1 players Williams and Jamie Murray, 3-6, 6-4, 7-6[18-16] in a 2-hour and 12-minute affair in front of a excited crowd on No.2 Court.
Williams, the 42-year-old WTA Legend, was playing her first event in either singles or doubles since she contested the Chicago Open last August. Williams returned to tour in style on Friday as she and Murray won their first-round match.
On Sunday, though, Barnett and O'Mara eked out the victory to reach the quarterfinals, tying the longest match-tiebreak in any of the draws at Wimbledon so far this year. Belinda Bencic and Storm Sanders also won their women's doubles first-round match with a 7-6[18-16] final set.
Williams of the United States and Great Britain's Murray had the upper hand early, leading by a set and a break at 6-3, 4-2. However, Barnett and O'Mara reeled off four games in a row from there to steal the second set and level the match.
O'Mara dropped serve in the first game of the third set, but he found redemption by firing a return winner to break Williams and level the set at 4-4. Those proved to be the only two service breaks of the third set.
Both teams executed outrageous rallies in the decisive match-tiebreak, coming up with their best tennis on the brink of defeat. Williams and Murray saved four match points and Barnett and O'Mara saved five as they thrillingly jockeyed back and forth to 16-16.
There, Barnett and O'Mara earned their fifth match point at 17-16 when a Williams backhand found the net. The all-British pair converted that chance, winning the match at last after a Murray volley miscue.
Gauff, Stosur pick up mixed doubles wins
In other mixed doubles results from Sunday, Americans Coco Gauff and Jack Sock reached the quarterfinals 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 1-hour and 15-minute victory.
And Samantha Stosur was a first-round winner, as she and her fellow Aussie Matthew Ebden topped Ulrikke Eikeri and Joran Vliegen 4-6, 7-6(6), 6-4. Stosur and Ebden took just over 2 hours to set a second-round meeting against No.1 seeds Ena Shibahara and Jean-Julien Rojer.