Serena Williams CRASHES OUT of the US Open in three sets to Ajla Tomljanovic in potential lasymatch

Serena Williams was in tears as her US Open fairytale finally ran its course and her glittering career met its end

Out of legs and out of time, Serena Williams’s glittering career met its end on the sport’s biggest stage.

On the enormous Arthur Ashe Stadium she met her final match in the shape of World No. 46 Ajla Tomljanovic, who eventually ran away with their US Open third round 7-5, 6-7, 6-1.

The record will show that Williams lost her last six games, but that would to be ignore three hours and four minutes of an excellent contest in which she breathed defiance until the end.

She just would not go away even when the situation was near hopeless at the end. In a last game that went on for nearly 15 minutes she saved five match points, reeling off a series of forehand winners.

‘Oh my god, thank you so much, you guys were amazing today,’ she said in an on-court interview filled with emotion. ‘I tried but Ajla just played a little bit better.’

With tears in her eyes, she added: ‘Thank you Daddy, I know you’re watching. Thanks Mom. I just want to thank everyone that’s here, that’s been on my side, so many years, decades. But it all started with my parents and they deserve everything, so I’m really grateful for them.’ 

Williams, choked with emotion, continued to credit her elder sister Venus as an inspiration for her instrumental role in the 23-time Grand Slam singles champion’s career.

‘These are happy tears I guess,’ she said. ‘And I wouldn’t be wouldn’t be Serena if it wasn’t Venus so thank you Venus. She’s the only reason that Serena Williams ever existed. 

‘It’s been a fun ride, it’s been the most incredible ride and journey I’ve ever had in my life. And I’m just so grateful to every single person that’s ever said “go Serena” in life. I’m just so grateful because it got me here.’ 

Serena Williams was in tears as her US Open fairytale finally ran its course and her glittering career met its end

On the enormous Arthur Ashe Stadium, she finally met her match as she suffered defeat in the third round of the event

 On the enormous Arthur Ashe Stadium, she finally met her match as she suffered defeat in the third round of the event

The American star was defeated by Australia's Ajla Tomljanovic (right) in a tight three-set thriller at the Arthur Ashe Stadium

The American star was defeated by Australia’s Ajla Tomljanovic (right) in a tight three-set thriller at the Arthur Ashe Stadium

Showing the grit that made her a champion, Williams just would not go away even when the situation was hopeless at the end

Showing the grit that made her a champion, Williams just would not go away even when the situation was hopeless at the end

The 23-time Grand Slam winner breathed defiance throughout the three hours and four minutes of an excellent contest

The 23-time Grand Slam winner breathed defiance throughout the three hours and four minutes of an excellent contest

She continued to leave the door slightly ajar but this is surely the end. Asked if that was the case she replied: ‘I think so, you never know,’ before leaving the court promptly. 

Early on the atmosphere was somewhat less feverish than the previous two matches, as if anticipation had now changed to this being another step on a fortnight’s journey.

Tomljanovic walked out to general indifference from the crowd and, as now customary, had to sit and wait while a tribute video was played about her opponent before her rousing arrival.

World No. 46 Tomljanovic walked out to general indifference from the home crowd as has been customary this week

World No. 46 Tomljanovic walked out to general indifference from the home crowd as has been customary this week

Although a seasoned professional nothing can quite prepare a player for this. However the Croatian-Australian, 29, will have been stood in good stead by featuring in the night match at Wimbledon last year that saw Emma Raducanu retire.

She benefitted from a loose Williams opener to break, which quelled the initial enthusiasm of the crowd. It was only temporary as Williams broke back to love, firing them up again.

The American was hitting with impressive depth against a player who prefers to hit relatively straight down the court and the decibels rose when the six-times champion moved ahead for 5-3.

She looked a little tight, however, when trying to serve it out and that ignited a new level from Tomljanovic, who soon had two break points at 5-5 as she skillfully opened the court up.

A beautifully-timed backhand down the line brought a second straight break. The Australian, whose game is uncomplicated, blasted her way to three set points and took the third one with forehand that looped onto the line after a couple of nervy errors.

The American legend was hitting with impressive depth against a player who prefers to hit relatively straight down court

The American legend was hitting with impressive depth against a player who prefers to hit relatively straight down court

Resilient Williams would have to come back from a set down for the first time in the week and dug deep to take the second

Resilient Williams would have to come back from a set down for the first time in the week and dug deep to take the second 

Now Williams would have to come back from a set down for the first time in the week, testing her ageing legs.

Tomljanovic seemed taken aback when the American changed her strategy at the start of the set, surging forward when she could and playing with outright aggression to shorten the rallies.

It worked a treat as she threw the kitchen sink at her opponent, hitting out with abandon to race to a 4-0 lead in what turned out to be 83-minute second set.

The World No. 46 then managed to dig in, never more so than in the epic eighth game. It lasted fifteen minutes and had nine deuces, with Williams creating four set points. She could not finish it and 5-3 quickly became 5-4.

Tomljanovic dug deep after going down 4-0 in the second set and clawed back to a tiebreaker before winning the third

Tomljanovic dug deep after going down 4-0 in the second set and clawed back to a tiebreaker before winning the third

Its sheer length was sapping, and the older player began to blow hard. She reached a last stand with the tie-break and moved to 4-1 up. Tomljanovic levelled but then the Williams forehand intervened and she seized it 7-4, with two hours and 12 minutes on the clock.

Could the veteran last? It seemed that way when she broke at the start of the decider, especially as her serve had hugely improved after an uncharacteristically poor start in that department.

The years, though, started to tell against the prime fitness of Tomljanovic, who was already ahead in winning rallies that lasted five shots or longer.

Although the tennis legend will now not being taking stage on Arthur Ashe over the weekend, she revealed she will be performing in a rather different way.

Williams joked that she intends to spend her first day post-tennis in the karaoke booth before insisting she is looking forward to exploring Serena 2.0. 

When asked what she planned to do on the first day of the rest of her life, Williams joked: ‘I think I’m definitely, probably going to be karaoke-ing tomorrow.’ 

However, sing-alongs will not dominate Williams’s post-tennis life as she revealed her focus will naturally switch to family. 

The 40-year-old said: ‘I’m ready to be a mom and explore a different version of Serena.

‘And technically in the world I’m still super young so I want to have a little bit of a life while I’m still walking,’ she added with a little chuckle. 

A host of A-list stars had become regular fixtures in the Arthur Ashe stands throughout Williams’s first two rounds and Friday night was no exception. 

Williams’ husband and co-founder of Reddit, Alexis Ohanian, was front and center in her box at her potential final tennis match, and he wore a t-shirt with a photo of their five-year-old daughter, Olympia, which had been snapped at the US Open during the first round. 

He was pictured rocking the tribute to his daughter, Olympia, who has not been present at the US Open since opening night on Monday.

Williams' husband Alexis Ohanian wore a t-shirt with a wonderful picture of their daughter Olympia on for third-round match

Williams’ husband Alexis Ohanian wore a t-shirt with a wonderful picture of their daughter Olympia on for third-round match

Williams' husband, Alexis Ohanian, was on hand to support the tennis matriarch, with his shirt receiving universal acclaim

Williams’ husband, Alexis Ohanian, was on hand to support the tennis matriarch, with his shirt receiving universal acclaim

Olympia, officially named Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr., turned five on Thursday and stole the show during her appearance at her mom’s win over Danka Kovinic.

The picture of Olympia was taken on Monday night when she was in her mom’s box as she cheered on in a matching outfit.  

Williams and her adorable daughter were decked out in matching diamond outfits for the 23-time Grand Slam champion’s blockbuster first-round match at the US Open on Monday. 

Williams’s outfit, made by longtime partner Nike, was all-black and covered in diamonds to mark the importance of the occasion. Nike produced a matching outfit for her daughter Olympia who cheered her mother on in the stands sitting alongside her father. 

It seems the matching outfit wasn’t the only homage to her mother that she wore. In addition to the sparkles, Olympia was seen wearing braids strung through white beads, a hairstyle similar to what Serena wore when she won her first US Open title in 1999.

Williams wasn't the only one in sparkles on Monday night as Nike made a matching outfit for daughter Olympia (right)

Williams wasn’t the only one in sparkles on Monday night as Nike made a matching outfit for daughter Olympia (right)

Olympia sat in the stands with her father Alexis Ohanian to cheer her mom in her opening match at Flushing Meadows

Olympia sat in the stands with her father Alexis Ohanian to cheer her mom in her opening match at Flushing Meadows

The five-year-old wore white beads in her hair to commemorate her mom's first US Open win, when she wore the hairstyle

The five-year-old wore white beads in her hair to commemorate her mom’s first US Open win, when she wore the hairstyle

American billionaire Robert Kraft, Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson and his singing sensation wife, Ciara were also among the star-studded cast supporting Williams at Flushing Meadows. 

Wilson, Ciara and Ohanian were all in Williams’ player’s box alongside her sister Venus and mother, Oracene Price. 

More NFL royalty was present in Queens, with New England Patriots owner Kraft and fiancee Dana Blumberg basking in the atmosphere.  

New York icon Spike Lee made his third appearance of the week at Arthur Ashe, rocking a suave maroon suit, while 12-time grand slam winner Billie Jean King shone in a pink cardigan – a color she had also donned on Monday because, as she explained, it is Williams’s favorite color,

Embattled Brooklyn Nets star Ben Simmons was in the crowd — as fellow Australian, Tomljanovic produced a career-best performance. So too was model Bella Hadid and boyfriend, Marc Kalman. 

Wilson and Ciara are often seen together at various high-profile sporting events across the US and sat in the player's box

Wilson and Ciara are often seen together at various high-profile sporting events across the US and sat in the player’s box

Denver quarterback Russell Wilson and wife Ciara were just one of the power couples present at Flushing Meadows Friday

Denver quarterback Russell Wilson and wife Ciara were just one of the power couples present at Flushing Meadows Friday

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and fiancee, Dana Blumberg, enjoyed proceedings as the NFL season nears

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and fiancee, Dana Blumberg, enjoyed proceedings as the NFL season nears

Spike Lee was seen rocking a blazer only he could, and has been a constant presence at Williams' matches this tournament

Spike Lee was seen rocking a blazer only he could, and has been a constant presence at Williams’ matches this tournament

Brooklyn Nets superstar Ben Simmons was seen smiling as fellow Aussie, Tomljanovic triumphed over the iconic Williams

Brooklyn Nets superstar Ben Simmons was seen smiling as fellow Aussie, Tomljanovic triumphed over the iconic Williams

Lee arose from his superb vantage point to celebrate with a fist-pump as Williams fought back in the second set marathon

Billie Jean King looked on as Williams and Tomljanovic played out a tense encounter in a stadium in which she starred

Billie Jean King looked on as Williams and Tomljanovic played out a tense encounter in a stadium in which she starred

Supermodel Bella Hadid, spotted with boyfriend Marc Kalman, had attended all of Williams' 2022 US Open singles matches

Supermodel Bella Hadid, spotted with boyfriend Marc Kalman, had attended all of Williams’ 2022 US Open singles matches

P.K. Subban (right) is currently an unrestricted NHL free agent, having most recently been a member of the New Jersey Devils

P.K. Subban (right) is currently an unrestricted NHL free agent, having most recently been a member of the New Jersey Devils

NHL free agent and former New Jersey Devils defenseman, P.K. Subban joined the star-studded audience witnessing a compelling opening set. 

Throughout the week, Williams had more big names in her corner, including golfing legend Tiger Woods and Vogue chief Anna Wintour. 

Fifteen-time major winner Woods was spotted alongside girlfriend Erica Herman as he enthusiastically cheered on his friend, even throwing in a fist pump or two, as Williams defeated second seed Anett Konatveit in the second round at Flushing Meadows Wednesday. 

Elsewhere in the stands of Arthur Ashe on Wednesday were Vogue editor Wintour, a tennis aficionado who was also in the crowd on Monday for Serena’s first-round match. Film director Lee also made his second appearance at one of Williams’ matches this tournament.

Actress Zendaya was spotted in the stands of Arthur Ashe for the first time at this year’s tournament. Zendaya, who enjoys global fame as part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, had brought her mother Claire Stoermer and assistant Darnell Appling with her.  

Model Gigi Hadid was joined by sister and fellow model Bella, who had also been among the star-studded crowd for Williams’ opening triumph. 

English crooner Seal, who famously used to be married to Heidi Klum, was another one of the wide variety of celebs glimpsed in the stands.

Golfing great Tiger Woods Woods (R) was spotted alongside girlfriend Erica Herman (L) in the stands on Wednesday night

Golfing great Tiger Woods Woods (R) was spotted alongside girlfriend Erica Herman (L) in the stands on Wednesday night 

The 15-time men's golf major winner enthusiastically cheered on his friend, even throwing in a fist pump or two

The 15-time men’s golf major winner enthusiastically cheered on his friend, even throwing in a fist pump or two 

Actress and singer Zendaya was among the star-studded crowd watching Williams against Anett Konatveit Wednesday

Actress and singer Zendaya was among the star-studded crowd watching Williams against Anett Konatveit Wednesday  

Zendaya, who enjoys global fame as part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, had brought her mother Claire Stoermer with her

Zendaya, who enjoys global fame as part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, had brought her mother Claire Stoermer with her 

Models Gigi (left) and Bella Hadid (right) watched on from the stands at Arthur Ashe Stadium on Wednesday night

Models Gigi (left) and Bella Hadid (right) watched on from the stands at Arthur Ashe Stadium on Wednesday night 

The supermodel sisters looked to be thoroughly enjoying the event, with Bella seen laughing and leaning on Gigi

The supermodel sisters looked to be thoroughly enjoying the event, with Bella seen laughing and leaning on Gigi

Gigi was spotted throwing herself into the spirit of the occasion with full enthusiasm as cheered on the American star

Gigi was spotted throwing herself into the spirit of the occasion with full enthusiasm as cheered on the American star 

English crooner Seal, who famously used to be married to Heidi Klum, was another one of the wide variety of celebs glimpsed

English crooner Seal, who famously used to be married to Heidi Klum, was another one of the wide variety of celebs glimpsed 

Unsurprisingly, Williams’s opening-round match against Danka Kovinic, which saw her emerge victorious in straight sets, was also a star-studded affair. 

Vera Wang, Mike Tyson, Hugh Jackman, former President  Bill Clinton, Anthony Anderson, Huma Abedin, Rebel Wilson, Lindsey Vonn, and New York Mets shortstop Francisco Lindor all turned out for the match, which featured a special farewell ceremony in tribute to the tennis great – despite the fact she was yet to take her final bow. 

And the celebrities not only flooded to Flushing Meadows to show their support of the tennis great but many also took to social media to pay tribute. 

Actor Hugh Jackman (center), who's currently starring on Broadway, watches Serena Williams play Danka Kovinic Monday

Actor Hugh Jackman (center), who’s currently starring on Broadway, watches Serena Williams play Danka Kovinic Monday

Former US President Bill Clinton (center) also watched Williams' opening triumph against Kovinic of Montenegro

Former US President Bill Clinton (center) also watched Williams’ opening triumph against Kovinic of Montenegro 

Former professional boxer Mike Tyson (middle center) was seen alongside tennis legend, Martina Navratilova (right)

Former professional boxer Mike Tyson (middle center) was seen alongside tennis legend, Martina Navratilova (right) 

American fashion designer Vera Wang looks on prior to Williams' opening triumph over Kovinic of Montenegro on Monday

American fashion designer Vera Wang looks on prior to Williams’ opening triumph over Kovinic of Montenegro on Monday

Olympic Gold alpine skier Lindsey Vonn (right) cheered on her fellow athlete and friend on Monday

Olympic Gold alpine skier Lindsey Vonn (right) cheered on her fellow athlete and friend on Monday

From legends like Woods and Derek Jeter, to tennis players such as Ons Jabeur and Carlos Alcaraz to NBA and WNBA stars like Breanna Stewart, JR Smith, Isaiah Thomas, and Diamond DeShields, to retired female athletes of years gone, Williams drew the admiration and attention of all. 

Michelle Obama led the tributes as she posted a video of Williams interacting with the Arthur Ashe crowd following her defeat. 

The former FLOTUS wrote: ‘Congrats on an amazing career, @serenawilliams! How lucky were we to be able to watch a young girl from Compton grow up to become one of the greatest athletes of all time. I’m proud of you, my friend—and I can’t wait to see the lives you continue to transform with your talents.’ 

Michelle Obama led the tributes as she posted a video of Williams interacting with the Arthur Ashe crowd following her defeat

Michelle Obama led the tributes as she posted a video of Williams interacting with the Arthur Ashe crowd following her defeat

Woods, who had also tweeted following her victory on Wednesday to claim it was a ‘privilege to watch greatness’, posted: ‘You’re literally the greatest on and off the court. Thank you for inspiring all of us to pursue our dreams. I love you little sis!!!!!!’

Tennis icon Billie Jean King tweeted, ‘Her incredible career made its mark on tennis history. And yet her greatest contributions my be yet to come. Thank you, @serenawilliams. Your journey continues.’ 

After her own match on Friday afternoon, American tennis starlet Coco Gauff had said she hoped Williams would emerge victorious from her third-round showdown so that she could play the great later in the tournament before her potential retirement. 

Gauff’s victory preceded Williams’ third round on Arthur Ashe and she gushed about the GOAT’s US Open journey following her match. 

‘It’s been amazing, I ordered room service just so I can watch it by myself,’ she added of watching one of her idols. ‘I know she’s on my side of the draw but I don’t know when but that’s the goal. It’s a lifelong dream of mine.’

While Gauff will now not have her wish granted, she still took to Twitter to thank the GOAT. The 18-year-old wrote: ‘Serena, THANK YOU. It is because of you I believe in this dream. The impact you’ve had on me goes beyond any words that can be put together and for that I say thank you, thank you, thank you, GOAT!’ 

 

Tiger Woods, Billie Jean King and Coco Gauff were among the sporting icons to pay tribute to Williams on social media

Tiger Woods, Billie Jean King and Coco Gauff were among the sporting icons to pay tribute to Williams on social media

More tributes poured in from legends and current athletes alike.

‘We just witnessed the last US Open for the greatest of all time, Serena Williams!!,’ said Basketball Hall of Famer Magic Johnson. ‘Serena has meant so much to sports, the game of tennis, the world, every little girl, and even more to every little Black girl across the globe.’

‘The greatest of all time. It’s been a privilege to watch history. Congrats on an incredible career @serenawilliams,’ wrote Olympic ski champion Lindsey Vonn.

‘I’m so grateful for @serenawilliams. What she has given this sport and us will never be lost on me,’ Olympic champion sprinter Allyson Felix tweeted.

Two-time World Cup winner Alex Morgan tweeted, ‘Serena fighting until the last point, always. You’ve given so much to tennis, and so much to women’s sports. Thank you @serenawilliams.’ 

Current and former tennis players also chipped in their thanks and admiration.

‘I love you @serenawilliams. It’s been the pleasure of a lifetime to watch you become what you have. Can’t wait to see that you do next. Thank you my old friend,’ tweeted former US Open winner Andy Roddick.

Wimbledon women’s finalist Ons Jabeur, who progressed to the Round of 16 with a win over America’s Shelby Rogers Friday, tweeted a picture of Williams with the words, ‘thank you Serena’ between heart emojis.

Williams is known for her bold fashion statements on court from the denim mini-skirt at the 2004 US Open to her Nike black catsuit at Roland Garros in 2018 and this week was no exception.

Designed months ago through insights from Williams, she took to court in an all-black outfit inspired by figure skating competition apparel and incorporating a six-layer skirt, referencing Serena’s six prior Flushing titles, which began in 1999.

The elegant silhouette was designed to allow Williams comfort and freedom of movement, while the bold embellishments will put her firmly in the spotlight – if she wasn’t already on the Arthur Ashe stage. 

The black bodice was encrusted by crystals in the shape of stars to reference the night sky of the tournament and was then covered with a mesh layer over the top. 

Williams was also sporting custom PE NikeCourt Flare 2 shoes which complemented the dress with the iconic Nike swoosh in crystals and her initials on the inner side. 

There were also solid gold deubrés on the laces featuring 400 hand-set diamonds in black ceramic created in collaboration with Serena Williams Jewelry. 

The outfit was topped off with a matching zip jacket and tote which were also in the same deep hue and embellished with crystals. 

Williams, who attended fashion school, has always had a love for playing in breathtaking and trendsetting looks and the tennis great took a hands-on approach for her latest outfit, providing the full vision and dialing the details.

Serena Williams wore an all-black outfit inspired by figure skating competition apparel with a six-layered skirt to reference her six victories at the tournament

The bodice of the dress was encrusted with diamonds to reflect the tournament's night sky

Serena Williams wore an all-black outfit inspired by figure skating competition apparel with a six-layered skirt to reference her six victories at the tournament

The look was  topped off with a matching jacket and tote also embellished in crystals

The tennis star sported custom PE NikeCourt Flare 2 with the iconic swoosh in crystals

The look is topped off with a matching jacket, tote and custom PE NikeCourt Flare 2s also embellished in crystals

Relive all the action from  Serena Williams’s US Open defeat to Ajla Tomljanovic with Sportsmail’s live blog from ISABEL BALDWIN.

#Serena #Williams #CRASHES #Open #sets #Ajla #Tomljanovic #potential #lasymatch

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