Image Source: Sports Brief
The impressive tennis career of Serena Williams is likely gone after she lost in the third round of the US Open to Australia’s Ajla Tomljanovi at Arthur Ashe Stadium in Flushing, New York.
The 23-time grand slam singles champion left an indelible mark not only in tennis but in all sports.
Tomljanovi got to the round of 16 at the US Open for the first time after winning the match in more than three hours, 7-5 6-7(4) 6-1.
In an on-court interview with reporters after the match, Williams was asked if she would reconsider her “evolution away from tennis.”
“I don’t think so,” she responded, “but you never know.”
She lauded her parents in a tearful interview, saying she was grateful to them because they started everything.
Her success, she said, was due to her older sister, Venus Williams.
“I adore Serena just as much as you all do,” Tomljanovi expressed remorse.
Tomljanovi was asked how she handled being in such an electric environment at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Williams’ long-term success on the Tour has been built on his ability to dig even deeper in the most difficult conditions.
On Friday, she showed the same toughness and effort as the world No. 46. Tomljanovi was in top form.
Williams, arguably the greatest female tennis player, saved five match points before being defeated by a shot into the net.
Impressive numbers for Serena Williams
The crowd of 23,859 at the Arthur Ashe Stadium for the night session hoped for another victory from Williams, but on this night, the winner of 847 career matches and 73 titles finished second best.
Given her recent form at the US Open (one win since returning to the tour in June after a year out due to injury), it was realistic to expect Williams’ first-round match against Danka Kovinic to be little more than an emotional farewell from tennis for the 23-time grand slam winner.
But, being “just Serena,” Williams delivered by far her best tennis of the season to dispatch Kovinic and extend her last dance in New York by a couple of days.
Then there was Kontaveit, the world No. 2 and one of the Tour’s most difficult players. The Estonian would be a far more difficult challenge than Kovinic, and Williams was clearly the underdog in their match.
Surely, after two glorious decades at the top, Williams’ career would come to an end here? It didn’t, of course. After all, she is “just Serena.”
Williams’ three-set triumph over Kontaveit elevated her tennis game to a level that many thought she would never reach. Her feared serve, as well as her speed around the court, seemed to have regained its precision and strength.
Tomljanovi has a career-high ranking of 38 this season and has had some surprising success in 2022, including quarterfinal performances at Wimbledon and the recently concluded Cincinnati Open.
She remained consistent on Friday, with only 30 unforced errors against Williams’ 51. She will face Russian, Liudmila Samsonova in the next round. Samsonova defeated Serbian Aleksandra Krunic 6-3, 6-3.
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