Australian Ajla Tomljanovic has ended Serena Williams’ storied career with a famous third-round US Open triumph over the retiring legend in New York.
Tomljanovic defied the sellout, partisan crowd in Arthur Ashe Stadium with a stirring, nerve-jangling 7-5 6-7 (4-7) 6-1 third-round victory over the 23-time grand slam champion on Friday night.
The epic encounter lasted three hours and five minutes, with Tomljanovic finally prevailing on her sixth match point.
The last titanic game stretched more than 15 minutes alone.
For all Williams’ fighting spirit, Tomljanovic could not to be denied.
The two-time Wimbledon quarter-finalist advances to the fourth round at Flushing Meadows – her progress signalled by her illustrious opponent sending a forehand into the net.
Williams, who will turn 41 in three weeks, announced last month she was “evolving away from tennis” after more than two decades dominating the women’s game.
The American will walk away one major title short of Margaret Court’s all-time record 24 grand slam singles crowns.
Williams, though, remains the holder of the most grand slam singles titles in the 54-year era of professional tennis, having eclipsed Steffi Graf’s 22.
All up, she won six US Open titles, Wimbledon and the Australian Open seven times each and the French Open on three occasions.
Alas, her last slam came while three months pregnant with daughter Olympia at the 2017 Australian Open when Williams beat older sister Venus in the final.
Williams subsequently lost four more grand slam deciders in her obsessive pursuit of Court’s record, all four in straight sets – at Wimbledon and the US Open in both 2018 and 2019.
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