michelle larcher


By Luís Santos

For the second year running Serena Williams will face a Portuguese in the first round of Wimbledon. Last year she met Neuza Silva, sailing 6-1 7-5 despite a close second set. This year she meets Michelle Larcher de Brito, arguably the best Portuguese player in the women’s tennis history.

This is Larcher de Brito’s second Wimbledon main draw. She lost to Francesca Schiavone in last year’s second round 7-6 7-6. Michelle comes into Wimbledon with a 2-1 record on grass this year after reaching the third round at Birmingham where she beat number 7 seed Olga Govortsova before falling to resurgent Kaia Kanepi.

Despite being ranked outside the top 100 and only 17 years of age, Larcher de Brito holds an extensive number of wins over top 50 players and has actually pushed many of the latest Grand Slam champions to tough matches. One of her ‘almost-casualties’ was Serena Williams herself back at Stanford 2008, where the American had her hands full for three sets before finally prevailing 4-6 6-3 6-2.

These are Serena’s lawns but can Michelle turn the tables? We’ll see.