Serena Williams’ run at the 2022 US Open ends with a three-set loss to Ajla Tomljanovic

Probably the greatest career in the history of tennis has apparently come to an end. Serena Williams is eliminated after a 7-5, 6-7 (4-7), 6-1 loss to Ajla Tomljanovic on Friday night at the 2022 US Open.

It was a tight match throughout, highlighted by big momentum swings and incredible shootouts from both players. But what will be remembered more than anything that happened in the actual game will be the enduring image of what could very well be the last time Williams took the court at the US Open.

The 40-year-old, 23-time Grand Slam champion’s plan to retire from tennis has been well-documented since she announced in early August that her playing days were coming to an end as she looks forward to reuniting with her family and to grow their business ventures.

While she will have a lifetime of growing and nurturing her home life as she steps away from the farm, that night was about her life spent doing it. For the past two decades, Williams has regularly said she gets every player’s best shot, and she got that in her third-round loss to Tomljanovic, whose determination and mental toughness were reminiscent of the icon at the net.

Falling 5-3 in the first set and falling 5-2 in the second, Tomljanovic kept the pressure on Williams forehand, who was shaky tonight and made many of her 50 unforced errors to fight back and win the first set and one to force second. Set a tiebreak before closing the deal in the third.

But it wasn’t easy. Williams saved five match points in the third set to go 5-1 before her final shot went into the net to end the match. As excellent as the match was, with big momentum swings and both players collecting plays in big chunks throughout the match, the images that will be remembered will be the lasting sights of Serena Williams – widely considered the greatest player of all Times viewed – – thanked everyone in her post-game interview at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

“It was a fun ride,” Williams said after three hours and four minutes on the court – the longest US Open match of her career. “It was the most incredible ride and journey I have ever taken in my life. I’m just so grateful to every single person who has ever said ‘Go Serena’ in their life. I’m just so grateful that you caught me here.”

On the net, Tomljanovic had a huge task to advance further than ever at the US Open, but at the expense of one of their heroes in the sport.

“I’m really sorry just because I love Serena as much as you do,” Tomljanovic said. “What she has done for me for tennis is just incredible. I never thought I would have the chance to play her in her last match watching her in all those finals as a kid. This is a surreal moment for me.”

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