After yet another night match at Arthur Ashe Stadium, Serena Williams’ bid for a 24th Grand Slam title in singles has officially come to a close.
The tennis legend lost to No. 46 Ajla Tomljanović 5-7, 7-6 (4),1-6 on Friday night in a game that surpassed the three-hour mark.
Williams dominated the match from the get-go, taking a 5-3 lead in the opening set. However, Tomljanović rattled off four straight games in a Herculean effort to claim the first set 7-5.
Fatigue started to kick in early on in the second set. Both Williams and Tomljanović suffered through some errors, but they each managed to bounce back with jaw-dropping plays to stay neck-and-neck. Williams went up 5-3 again, but Tomljanović made another comeback and forced a second-set tiebreaker. Williams, though, eventually broke through to win it 7-6 (4).
Tomljanović proceeded to control the third and final set with ease, taking a 5-1 lead. The sixth game saw the 29-year-old come back down 30-0 to win en route to the 6-1 finish. Williams had saved six match points in the seventh and final game before Tomljanović pulled out the victory.
Williams has 366 career major match wins, 102 of which have come on Ashe, the most of all time. Williams announced her impending retirement from the sport last month. Rafael Nadal, who plays in the men’s third round on Saturday, now has the opportunity to match Williams’ Open-era record of 23 Grand Slams.
Tomljanović is a 29-year-old Croatian-Australian professional tennis player with a win-loss record of 363-273. This is the second straight year she made it to the third round of the U.S. Open.
The Australian right-hander advances to the Round of 16 of the 2022 U.S. Open, where she will face world No. 35 Ludmilla Samsonova.