Serena Williams’ glittering career likely came to an end on Friday as the tennis icon lost in the third round of US Open to Australia’s Ajla Tomljanovic.
The 40-year-old Williams – who last month signalled she planned to retire after the Open – was beaten 7-5, 6-7 (4/7) 6-1 by Tomljanovic in a gruelling 3-hour 5-minute battle.
Williams, a sporting and cultural icon who amassed 23 Grand Slam singles titles in her 27-year career, poured everything into one last stand in front of a ferociously partisan crowd at the Arthur Ashe Stadium.
But the veteran wilted visibly in the decisive third set, wearied by the demands of a heroic second set display that saw her level the match in a tie break.
As Tomljanovic raced into a 5-1 lead in the third, Williams summoned every last drop of her fighting spirit to stave off defeat, saving five match points in a marathon seventh game before finally succumbing.
Afterwards Williams saluted the crowd, welling up as Tina Turner’s anthem “Simply the Best” belted out around the stands.
Here’s how the world reacted
With AFP Inputs