NEW YORK, NY – Serena Williams, the icon, the legend, the GOAT, lost in the third round of the US Open, marking her final match as a professional tennis player.
Australia’s Ajla Tomljanovic beat Williams on Friday night in a thrilling battle, 7-5, 6-7 (7-4), 6-1, at Arthur Ashe Stadium. The three-hour match had a wild, lengthy comeback that ended with a heated tiebreak in the second set before Tomljanovic finally closed out the match in the third, ending what will go down as one of the best, and most-watched, matches of the tournament.
Williams got emotional on her way off the court. She cried “happy tears, I guess” in her on-court postmatch interview as she thanked her parents and her sister, Venus.
“Thank you so much, you guys were amazing today. I wish I played a little bit better. Thank you daddy, I know you’re watching. Thanks mom,” Williams said on the court. “I just thank everyone that’s here, that’s been on my side so many years, decades. Oh my gosh, literally decades. But it all started with my parents, and they deserve everything, so I’m really grateful for them.
“These are happy tears, I guess! I don’t know. And I wouldn’t be Serena if there wasn’t Venus, so thank you Venus.”
After dropping a close opening set, Williams went up 4-0 in the second set and seemed poised to force a third. Yet Tomljanovic won four straight games to close out the first set, powering her way through to force a tiebreak. She nearly won it, too, but Williams escaped with the 7-4 win to extend the match to a third set.
Though Williams jumped up 1-0 with a break in the final set, she dropped the next two quickly and seemed exhausted after more than 2 1/2 hours on the court. Tomljanovic rolled from there, even with seemingly the entire stadium against her, to take the final set and advance into the fourth round while simultaneously ending Williams’ career.
“I’m feeling really sorry, just because I love Serena just as much as you guys do and what she’s done for me, for the sport of tennis is incredible,” Tomljanovic said after her win. “I never thought that I’d have a chance to play her in her last match when I remember watching her as a kid in all those finals. This is a surreal moment for me.”
SOURCE: Yahoo Sports