Serena Williams didn’t have a fairytale ending at the U.S. Open.
The 23-time Grand Slam singles champion won six times in a 7-5, 6-7 (4), 6-1 loss to Ajla Tomljanović on Friday night before reaching nearly 24,000 at Arthur Ashe Cheering crowd. stadium.
Williams took part in her putative farewell, No. 605, with just one win in nearly 15 months, and her first week at Flushing Meadows was under the lights of the world’s largest tennis court A series of retro performances were performed. This high-quality, high-intensity, furious confrontation, which lasted over three hours, was somehow her most exciting performance.
She beat Tomljanović with a 115 mph serve and a flat hit. She came to the net, glided across the court with a fluid mind long gone, and interrupted the winner with a guttural growl. But 29-year-old Australian Tomlyanovic, ranked 46th, was not well received by the crowd, who cheered on her serve blunders and blunders, who did her best and kept up as Williams tightened. high level.
Down 3-5 in the opening game, Williams served as the back-to-back Wimbledon quarterfinalists won four straight to seal an early advantage. Then trailing 0-4 and 2-5 in the second, she knocked back four sets, eventually bowing in the tiebreaker, but after extending the midgame to 83 minutes and draining her 40-year-old opponent Valuable energy reserves.
She lashed out at the American star in six straight games after Tomjanovic was immediately smashed to open the tiebreaker in what is expected to be the last of her illustrious 27-year career. Even at the time of his death, Williams did not leave quietly. In one final display of her tenacious fighting spirit and immense confidence, she avoided no fewer than five match points, each causing a deafening roar, culminating in the sixth inning three hours and five minutes later. hand hitting the ball.
“I tried it, Ajla just played a little [better],” Williams said, tearing up. “Thank you, Dad. I know you are watching. thanks Mom. It all started with my parents, they deserved everything.
“I wouldn’t be Serena without Venus, so thank you, Venus. She is the only reason Serena Williams exists.
“It’s been a fun ride. I’m so grateful to everyone in my life who has ever said ‘Go Serena’. You brought me here.”
Williams, who turns 41 in a few weeks, has been playing little for the past few seasons due to a hamstring injury and lost in the first round at Wimbledon this year to a team outside the top 100. As a player, her performance was well below her standards. She was even more prominent in two one-sided losses at the U.S. Open after she announced her plans to retire last month.
But her resurgence in Queens has many wondering if she’s really ready to leave, especially Williams herself, who strongly suggested this year’s U.S. Open will be her last.Even after Friday’s match, she remained vague when pressed and hinted at the next major on the calendar: “I don’t know, I didn’t think about it. [playing again]. However, I have always liked Australia. “
“Obviously I still have the ability, [but] It takes a lot more than that,” she added. “I’m ready, like a mom, to explore different versions of Serena. “
The remarkably composed Tomljanovic, who advanced in Sunday’s fourth-round match against Lyudmila Samsonova, reflected “surreal” moments immediately after the match.
“I’m really sorry because I love Serena as much as you guys do,” she said. “What she has done for tennis is unbelievable. When I was a kid, it never occurred to me that I would have the opportunity to play her in her last match, when I was watching all these finals. “
She added: “I really blocked it [the crowd] Do my best. It did affect me a few times internally. I didn’t take it personally because, I mean, if I didn’t play her, I’d be cheering for Serena too. But it’s definitely not easy. There is no other way. “