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US Open 2022: Serena Williams bids farewell to tennis after third-round loss to Ajla Tomljanovic
New York: American Tennis legend Serena Williams bid farewell to the sport on Friday, after her defeat to Ajla Tomljanovic of Australia in the third round match of the women's singles category in the ongoing US Open 2022.
Serena, only a few weeks away from turning 41 and perhaps the greatest woman the world of tennis has ever seen, lost the match 7-5, 6-7(4), 6-1. Serena was heading into the match ranked at number 605 worldwide, but still, the Arthur Ashe Stadium was jam-packed to witness the tennis legend play her 1014th match and perhaps, the final one of her storied career, which boasts of 23 Grand Slam singles titles, an Open Era record. Williams has 73 WTA tour titles, with Martina Navratilova of America leading the list with 167, followed by Chris Evert (157), Stefanie Graf (107), Court (92).
Tomljanovic on the other hand was in red hot form, having won 15 out of her previous 19 matches.
Serena looked to be in control during the opening set, breaking her opponent at love for a 5-3 advantage. But her Aussie opponent kept calm and took the set 7-5.
Then Tomlijanovic was serving at 0-1, 30-40 in the second set. Serena delivered a nifty backhand volley, reigniting her chances in the match and the crowd as well. The Aussie fought back but proceedings were level at 5-all. A tie-breaker happened and Serena came out on top in the second set to force a decider.
In the final set, Tomlijanovic took a 3-1 lead and from that point on, there was no looking back for her. She won the final set 6-1 to get possibly the biggest win of her career. Serena played her heart out for three hours and four minutes, but fell short in what could be her final game as a player.
"I thank everyone that is here, that has been on my side for so many years, decades, literally decades. It all started with my parents. They deserve everything. I am grateful for them. These are happy tears, I guess. And I would not be Serena if it was not for Venus. Thank you, Venus. She is the only reason Serena Williams ever existed. It has been a fun ride. It has been the most incredible ride and journey I have ever been on in my life," Williams was quoted as saying per US Open official website.
"We're going to miss you on the court. #ThankYouSerena," said WTA in a tweet.
This is her only third-round defeat at US Open besides the one in her 1998 debut against Irina Spirlea.
The next challenge for Tomljanovic is Liudmila Samsonova of Russia, who defeated Serb Aleksandra Krunic, 6-3, 6-3. They have a 1-1 head-to-head record. (ANI)