Serena Williams loses to Tomljanovic in US Open farewell

NEW YORK (AP) — Make Williams don’t want to go quietly, don’t want this game, this trip to the U.S. Openthis detached profession Her, really, really ended.

Until the last minutes of her quarter century of excellence, unless she changes her mind On the tennis court, and an unrelenting reluctance to be told what’s impossible, Williams tries to make one last classic comeback for one last retro win, fans stand up in a full Arthur Ashe Stadium, cellphone cameras Ready.

The 23-time Grand Slam champion delayed five match points in order to extend the schedule for more than three hours, but was unable to do anything, and was eliminated by Adjera Tomljanovic in the third round of the US Open. 7-5, 6-7(4), 6-1 on Friday night, expected to be her last game.

“I’ve been down before. … I didn’t really give up,” Williams said. “In my career, I’ve never given up. In games, I’m not giving up. Definitely didn’t give up tonight.”

She turns 41 this month She recently told the world that she was ready to start “evolving” away from her playing days – she expressed disgust at the word “retirement” – although she was deliberately vague, unaware of this appearance at Flushing Meadows Whether it must represent her final cheer, everyone thought it would be.

“It was the most incredible ride and ride I’ve ever had in my life,” Williams said, tears streaming down her cheeks shortly after the final shot was taken. “I’m so grateful to everyone who has ever said ‘Go, Serena!’ in their lives.”

Asked if she would reconsider leaving, Williams replied: “I don’t think so, but you never know.”

Shortly after, Williams touched on the same topic in his post-match press conference, joking: “I’ve always liked Australia,” the country that hosts the next Grand Slam in January.

With two victories in singles this week, including a victory over world No. 2 Anett Kontaveit, Williams took her fans to the hardcourt tournament Had an exciting return journey. Her six titles.

It first appeared in New York in 1999, when Williams was a teenager. She is now married and a mother; her daughter Olympia turns 5 on Thursday.

“Obviously, I’m still capable. … (But) I’m ready to be a mom and explore a different version of Serena,” she said. “Technically, I’m super young in this world, so I want to have a little bit of life while I’m still walking.”

Her 23,859 closest friends cheered again on Friday as Williams faltered against No. 46-ranked 29-year-old Australian Tomjanovic.

Williams gave up the lead in every set, including the final set, where she went 1-0 in the final six.

Tomljanovic is an unabashed Williams fan, watching her games on TV as a child.

“I’m really sorry because I love Serena as much as you guys. What she’s done for me, for tennis, is unbelievable,” never hit a quarter-final in any major Tomljanovic said in the final. “It was a surreal moment for me.”

Then, Tomlyanovic added with a smile: “I just thought she was going to beat me. … She’s Serena. She’s just that: She’s the greatest ever. Period.”

When asked what she plans to do on the first day of her life for the rest of Saturday, Williams said she’ll take a break and spend time with Olympia, before adding: “I’m definitely going to be singing karaoke.”

On Friday, she showed grit on the racket and had some great serves, but it wasn’t perfect.

At one point in the second set, Williams’ feet got tangled and she fell on the court with her racket falling. She made 51 unforced errors, 21 more than Tomljanovic.

Williams wiped out a 5-3 lead in the first set. She did something similar in the second inning, giving up a 4-0 and 5-2 advantage and needed five packs to finally put that pack in her pocket. Starting 4-all in the tiebreaker, which meant Williams was just three points away from defeat, she hit a 117-mph ace at 117 mph and hit a forehand winner to finish 20 , then watched Tomljanovic’s long forehand push.

Momentum appears to be on Williams’ side. But she couldn’t achieve the kind of never admit defeat that she had often done over the years.

“Oh my god, thank you so much. You guys were amazing today. I tried it,” Williams told the audience with arms on hips, before referring to her parents and her sister Venus, 42 The seven-time Grand Slam champion.

“I wouldn’t be Serena without Venus. So thank you, Venus,” Williams said. “She’s the only reason Serena Williams exists.”

They started playing tennis as children in Compton, California, coached by their father Richard, who taught himself the game after watching a TV show, and one player received a winner’s check. He was a central figure in the Oscar-winning King Richard, produced by his daughters.

The siblings, who lost together in the first-round doubles on Thursday night, were sold out again. On Friday, like Serena Williams’ other games this week, there’s no question which player the paying public favors.

When Tomljanovic went 6-5 in four games, a man in her guest box got a standing ovation — and he was pretty much on his own.

Otherwise, people would applaud when Tomljanovic made a double fault, which is often considered a faux pas in the tennis crowd.

They were loud and frowning in the lengthy exchange.

They made “Awwwwww” sympathetic noises when Williams hit the ball wrong and jumped from their seats when she did what they thought was extraordinary. A rather routine service outage drew a standing ovation.

Tomljanovic draped a blue-and-white U.S. Open towel over his head as he transitioned to protect himself from noise and distractions.

“I blocked it out as much as I could. It did affect me internally a few times. I mean, I didn’t take it personally because I mean if I didn’t play her, I’d do it for Sere Na cheers,” Tomlyanovic said. “But it’s definitely not easy.”

Williams hit a backhand volley for the winner in the second set to give her a 4-0 lead, and her performance was refreshing with every passing moment. Billie Jean King, a Hall of Famer with a combined 39 Grand Slam titles in singles, doubles and mixed doubles, held up her phone to capture the scene.

“You’re everywhere!” yelled Williams’ husband and Reddit co-founder, Alexis Ohanian, from a courtside guest box, which also contained power couple Ciara and Russell Wilson.

She screamed and leaned forward as Williams led 5-2 with two consecutive forehand winners in the second set.

She can’t maintain this level.

Williams has won 19 consecutive U.S. Open third-round singles matches, including reaching at least the semifinals in her last 11 appearances in New York.

Talk about a full moment: Her only third-round loss at Flushing Meadows (she went 42-0 in the first and second rounds) came in 1998, the year Williams Debut at the age of 16.

In 12 months, she will win her first Grand Slam trophy at the U.S. Open. Now she says goodbye at the same stadium.

“It’s been a long time. I’ve played tennis my whole life,” Williams said Friday night, after completing the final spin and swing usually reserved for victory. “It’s kind of fast, but I’m also happy because, I mean, that’s what I want, what I want.”

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More AP coverage of the US Open: https://apnews.com/hub/us-open-tennis-championships and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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