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US Open: Serena Williams Crashes Out After Going Down In 3rd Round


The dream of a fairy tale ending to Serena Williams’ glittering career went up in smoke on Friday when the tennis icon was kicked out of the US Open by Australia’s Ajla Tomljanovic. 40-year-old Williams – who last month signaled she plans to retire after the Open – was beaten 7-5, 6-7 (4/7) 6-1 by Tomljanovic in a grueling 3 hours and 5 minutes battle.

Williams, a sports and cultural icon who has won 23 Grand Slam singles titles in his 27-year career, put everything into one final stand in front of a rabid partisan crowd at Arthur Stadium Ash.

But the veteran had visibly withered in the decisive third set, tired by the demands of a heroic display in the second set that saw her level the match in a draw.

When Tomljanovic took a 5-1 lead in the third round, Williams summoned every last drop of his fighting spirit to prevent defeat, saving five points in the seventh marathon before finally succumbing.

Williams then greeted the audience, delighted as Tina Turner’s “Simply the Best” resounded through the stands.

Asked by a court interviewer if there was any chance she could prolong her career, she replied: “I don’t think so, but you never know.”

“It was a fun ride,” she said. “It was the most incredible ride and journey I’ve ever been on, I mean, in my life.

“I’m grateful for every single person who’s ever said, ‘Go, Serena,’ in their life. I’m so grateful. You’ve got me here.”

Williams pays special tribute to her parents Richard Williams and Oracene Price, who set her and her sister Venus on the path to superstardom.

“It all started with my parents,” Williams said. “They deserve everything. So I’m really grateful to them.”

Williams also expressed gratitude to her older sister, who looked on from the stands.

“I wouldn’t be Serena without Venus, so thank you, Venus. She’s the only reason Serena Williams ever existed,” she said.

Meanwhile, Tomljanovic expressed disappointment that Williams’ career may be over.

“I feel really sorry just because I love Serena as much as you do,” she told the crowd. “What she has done for me, for the sport of tennis, is unbelievable.

“I never thought I’d get the chance to play her in her last match when I remember watching her in all those finals, so this was a surreal moment for me. I.”

Tomljanovic said she also never felt certain about victory.

“Even until the very end, I knew she could win even if she was 5-1 down,” she said.

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“That’s just who she is and she’s the greatest of all time. Period.”

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and was automatically generated from the syndication feed.)

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