Australia’s Ajla Tomljanovic has played one of the matches of her career to deny one of the all-time greats a fairytale end to her decorated career.
Serena Williams had announced that she will transition away from tennis after the US Open.
New York fans were hoping Serena would go out a winner, but it was not to be.
Serena looked to be on track to take the first set when she was serving at 5-3.
A recent lack of match play didn’t help, where Tomljanovic had in the previous round escaped from 3-5 down in the third set and the Australian has recently reached the quarterfinals at Wimbledon and she was battle-hardened after a good summer in the USA.
Tomljanovic would frequently force another shot from Serena to have her claim a point. That would bring errors from the 23-time Grand Slam champion.
After serving an Ace for 30-30, Serena played a running approach shot which she hit into the net to present a break back opportunity.
On the next point, Serena hit well long to see her opponent back on serve.
Tomljanovic completed a string of four straight games to take the first set.
Again Serena was serving for the set with a good advantage, at 5-3.
The Australian was not giving in easily and broke back before taking the set to a tiebreaker.
Serena would come out on top but she was using precious energy.
The third set was all Tomljanovic’s and she closed out Serena’s career with a 7-5, 6-7(4), 6-1 victory in 3 hours and five minutes.
At the end of the match, Serena was interviewed by Tomljanovic and completed the customary winner’s on-court interview.
“I’m feeling really sorry, just because I love Serena just as much as you guys do,” said Tomljanovic, addressing the sold-out crowd during her on-court interview.
“What she’s done for me, for the sport of tennis, is incredible.
“I never thought that I’d have a chance to play her in her last match when I remember watching her as a kid in all those finals, so this is a surreal moment for me.”
Next up for Tomljanovic is world no. 35 Liudmila Samsonova.