Serena Williams loses to Ajla Tomljanovic in U.S.

THE NEW YORK Never one to leave softly, Serena Williams refused to let this match, her trip to the U.S. Open, or her extraordinary career completely, truly end.

Williams tried to create one last great comeback and achieve one last vintage triumph with followers on their feet in a packed Arthur Ashe Stadium and cellphone cameras set.
The 23-time Grand Slam winner saved five match points to extend the almost three-hour match, but she was unable to save any more and was defeated by Ajla Tomljanovic 7-5, 6-7 (4), 6-1 on Friday night in what is likely to be her final encounter.

“I’ve experienced defeat before. I truly don’t give up, “added Williams.” I persevere during games. There was no way I was giving up tonight.”

She recently revealed to the world that she is ready to begin “developing” away from her playing days and that she dislikes the phrase “retirement.” However, she purposefully avoided saying if this presence at Flushing Meadows would undoubtedly represent her after turning 41 this month.
After one final shot found the back of the net, Williams stated with tears running down her cheeks, “It’s been the most unbelievable ride and journey I’ve ever been on in my life.” “I’m extremely appreciative of everyone who has ever wished Serena luck in their lives,” she remarked.
Williams was asked if she might think twice about leaving during a courtside interview, to which she responded, “I don’t think so, but you never know.”

Williams remarked, “I always did adore Australia,” when asked about the subject at her post-match news conference a little while later. Australia will host the following Grand Slam competition in January.
At the hard-court tournament where she won half a dozen of her titles, Williams gave her fans a thrill-a-minute throwback experience with two singles victory this week.
The first occurred when Williams was a teenager in 1999 in New York. She is now married and a mother; on Thursday, Olympia became 5 years old.

I’m ready to be a mom and explore a different version of Serena, she said, adding, “Clearly, I’m still competent. I want to live a little while I’m still walking since, technically, in the world, I’m still quite young.
Williams struggled against Tomljanovic, a 29-year-old Australian who is ranked 46th, on Friday despite having 23,859 of her closest friends shouting raucously.

Tomljanovic grew up watching Williams play on television and is an unashamed Williams fan.

“It’s unbelievable what she’s done for me and for tennis “added Tomljanovic, who has never advanced past the major quarterfinals.
Then Tomljanovic said, to laughter: “I merely believed that she would defeat me. It’s Serena. She is the best of all time because it is who she is. Period.”

Williams responded, “I’m absolutely probably going to be karaoke-ing,” when asked what she planned to do on the first day of the rest of her life on Saturday. She also said she would rest and spend time with Olympia.

Although not flawless, her performance with her racket on Friday shown tenacity and featured some fantastic serving.

Williams’ feet became twisted at one point in the second set, causing her to fall to the ground and drop her racket. She had 51 unforced mistakes in total, 21 more than Tomljanovic.
Williams allowed the first set to end with a 5-3 deficit. Similar mistakes were made in the second set, as she surrendered leads of 4-0 and 5-2 and needed five set points to finally win. Williams smashed a 117 mph ace, blasted a forehand winner to cap a 20-stroke exchange, and then saw Tomljanovic push a forehand long in the tiebreaker from 4-all, which meant she was three points from losing.

Williams seemed to have the momentum. But she was unable to achieve the kind of victory where she would never concede defeat, as she had done so frequently over the years.

When they were little, their father, Richard, taught them the game by coaching them. He did this after watching a tennis player collect a winner’s check on television. He served as the protagonist of the Oscar-winning movie “King Richard,” which was made by his daughters.
On Thursday night’s doubles competition, the siblings lost together, drawing another another sold-out crowd. And it was clear who the paying audience preferred on Friday, as it was for the younger Williams’ other performances this week.

One person in her guest box rose to applaud when Tomljanovic broke to go up 6-5 as part of a four-game run to win the opening set, and he was pretty much the only one.
Otherwise, when Tomljanovic double-failed, which is normally frowned upon in tennis spectators, many cheered.

They were also disliked for becoming loud in the middle of protracted conversations.
When Williams missed a shot, they sympathised by saying “Awwwwww,” and when she accomplished something amazing, they leaped out of their chairs. A standing ovation was appropriate at a very typical service break.

At changeovers, Tomljanovic covered her head with a blue-and-white U.S. Open towel to protect herself from the commotion and interruptions.

“I simply did my best to block it out. It did occasionally affect me inwardly. I mean, I didn’t take it personally because, well, if I wasn’t playing Serena, I would be rooting for her, too “said Tomljanovic. But it was undoubtedly difficult.
Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, who was in the courtside guest box with power couple Russell Wilson and Ciara, exclaimed, “You’re everywhere!” at Williams.
Williams yelled and leaned forward after each of the two consecutive forehand winners she hit to take a 5-2 lead in the second set.

She was unable to maintain that level.

Williams came into the night having won 19 consecutive matches in the third round of the U.S. Open singles competition, including making it at least as far as the semifinals in her last 11 trips to New York.
Talk about coming full circle: Williams has only lost once in the third round at Flushing Meadows (she is 42-0 in the first and second rounds), and it was in 1998, the year she made her tournament debut at the age of 16.
Twelve months after that, at the U.S. Open, she would take home her first major trophy. She then bid farewell there in the stadium.