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Serena Williams’ US Open, and possibly career, ends with Tomljanovic’s loss.Serena Williams

There was no fairytale ending for Serena Williams at the US Open.

The 23-time major singles champion won his sixth title on Friday night after losing to Ajla Tomljanovic 7-5 6-7(4) 6-1 in front of an enthusiastic crowd of nearly 24,000 at Arthur Ashe. I dropped out of a tournament I did. stadium.

Joining the presumed farewell party, Williams was ranked 605th and had only one victory in almost 15 months, but in his first week at Flushing Meadows, he won a series of vintage wins under the lights of the world’s biggest tennis stadium. It was a high-quality, intensely moving encounter that unfolded over three hours and was somehow her most inspiring performance.

She hit back Tomljanovic with a 115 mph serve and a flat ground stroke that exploded off the strings. She came out to the net, gliding across the court with her long-fluid thoughts and interrupting the winners with her guttural squeal. But the 29-year-old Australian, ranked her 46th in the world, Tomljanovic was unfazed by the crowd praising her missteps and errors.

After trailing 3-5 in the opener and Williams winning a set to secure back-to-back Wimbledon quarter-finals, he won four straight to bet on an early advantage. Then, off her 0-4 and her 2-5 deficit in the second round, she smashed her four set points before finally bowing in a tiebreaker. Precious energy reserves.

After Tomljanovic was quickly broken to open the decider, she rattled six games in a row to close the door on the American star, ending her 27-year transcendent professional career. Even on the brink of death, Williams was not silent. In a final show of her indomitable will and her immense self-confidence, she staves off her points with at least five matches, each causing a deafening roar, and finally she’s 3 hours 5 A minute later she netted an approach with a forehand in the sixth.

“I tried. Ajla just played around a bit. [better]” Williams said tearfully. “Thank you, Papa. I know you’re watching. Thank you, Mom. It all started with my parents and they deserve everything.”

“Thank you Venus, because without Venus I wouldn’t be Serena. She’s the only reason Serena Williams ever existed.

“It’s been a fun ride. I’m so grateful to everyone in my life who said ‘Go Serena’. You brought me here.”

Adjla Tomljanovic and Serena Williams shake hands at the net after the match.
Adjla Tomljanovic and Serena Williams shake hands at the net after the match. Photo: Robert Prange/Getty Images

Williams, who will turn 41 in a few weeks, has played sparingly in recent seasons due to a hamstring injury, but a first-round loss to a player not ranked outside the top 100 at Wimbledon this year saw her fall. After announcing plans to retire last month, a pair of one-sided losses in tune-up events at the U.S. Open seemed to further shy away from her depths. I saw.

But her resurrected form at Queens has made many wonder if she’s really ready to walk away, and strongly hinted that this year’s US Open will be her last event. After the game, she remained vague when pressed to hint at the next Grand Slam on the calendar. [playing again]But I always loved Australia. “

“Obviously, I still have the ability. [but] It takes a lot more than that,” she added. “Being a mom, I’m ready to explore a different version of Selena.”

A very poised Tomljanovic, who made it to the fourth round against Lyudmila Samsonova on Sunday, reflected on the “surreal” moments that followed.

“I’m so sorry because I love Serena as much as you do,” she said. When I was watching, I never thought I would have the chance to face her in her final match.”

She added: [the crowd] as much as possible. I’ve been there several times internally. I didn’t take it personally. I mean, if I hadn’t played Serena, I’d be rooting for her too. But it certainly wasn’t easy. There was no other way. “

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