Serena, the eight-time Grand Slam champion, a doubles gold medalist from Sydney with sister Venus but who was making her debut in Olympic singles after missing Athens with a knee injury, led the 47th-ranked Govortsova 6-3, 2-1, when heavy rain forced all action to be cancelled until Monday.
Only nine of 45 scheduled ties were completed in a rain-disrupted day at the Olympic Green Tennis Centre, an all-open venue where the start of play in the morning had already been delayed by two hours because of steady rain. Organisers made the decision to postpone all remaining matches at 6.55 pm (10:55GMT) after further downpours. In her match against Govortsova, Williams raced out to a 3-0 lead in the first set, but the Belarussian made the American former world number one work hard for her points. Although Williams broke again to take an ominous 5-1 lead, Govortsova rebounded to break and then hold serve on her own game.
The Belarussian had break point in the next game but Williams held her nerve to win a cracking rally for deuce before play was interrupted for 30 minutes by rain. Williams survived a second breakpoint to win the first set 6-3 when play resumed, and broke Govortsova in the first game of the second set. The set stood at 2-1 in Williams' favour when heavy rain, accompanied by thunder and lightning, saw the players scurry off court. There will be no doubles action either. I will post the new order of play as the information becomes available.