Serena Williams’ campaign at the US Open 2022 ended when she faced a 5-7, 7-6(4), 1-6 defeat to Australia’s Ajla Tomljanovic in the third round of women’s singles. Serena, who had announced earlier that the US Open might be her last competitive appearance, was fierce throughout her campaign at the major, and remained gritty as ever throughout her third round defeat to 46th-ranked Australian. In fact, when asked if she would want to reconsider her decision to retire from the game, Williams said, “you never know,” hinting there is still some tennis left in her.
But, if this was, indeed, the last hurrah, she ensured her fans had a thrilling throwback ride at the US Open where she has won half-dozen of her 23 Grand Slam titles. The first of them came when she was 17. On Saturday, however, Williams – despite leading in all three sets at one point – squandered the advantage in two. In the final set, she was leading 1-0 before conceding six successive games.
On one point in the second set, Williams’ feet got tangled and she fell to the court, dropping her racket. She finished with 51 unforced errors, 21 more than Tomljanovic.
Williams let a 5-3 lead vanish in the first set. She did something similar in the second, giving away edges of 4-0 and 5-2, and requiring five set points to finally put that one in her pocket. From 4-all in the tiebreaker, meaning Williams was three points from defeat, she pounded a 117 mph ace, hit a forehand winner to cap a 20-stroke exchange, then watched Tomljanovic push a forehand long.
Momentum appeared to be on Williams’ side. But she could not pull off the sort of comeback she did so many times over the years.
“Oh, my God, thank you so much. You guys were amazing today. I tried,” Williams told the audience, hands on her hips, before mentioning her parents, her husband, and her older sister, Venus, a seven-time major champion.
“I wouldn’t be Serena if there wasn’t Venus. So thank you, Venus,” she said. “She’s the only reason that Serena Williams ever existed.”
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