By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
Tennis icon Serena Williams’ campaign for a record-tying 24th Grand Slam title came to an end after falling at the hands of Ajla Tomljanovic – 7-5, 6-7, 6-1 – and officially ended her farewell tour following her 2022 US Open exit.
Williams had a terrific start in the tournament after taking care of business during rounds 1 & 2 of the tournament but faced a determined Tomljanovic that saw her bid for a fitting ending of her legacy fail.
The Croatian-Australian upcoming tennis superstar was all over Williams from the get-go and devised a great game plan to counter the American’s strength in the baseline game.
Patience was the biggest key for Tomljanovic during her win and didn’t settle for high-volume forehand bombs.
Instead, Tomljanovic let Williams throw the bigger groundstrokes and waited for perfect opportunities to disrupt her flow, causing several unforced errors at the start of the second set.
Tomljanovic’s efficiency in using the slice ball technique frustrated Williams several times and helped the challenger establish the much-needed momentum heading into the final set.
Williams continued to struggle with Tomljanovic’s gameplay and only managed to hold one service possession.
Aside from her tremendous shot selection, Tomljanovic’s eight tallied breakpoints were also a major factor in the matchup.
Despite the loss, the US Open management and the thousands of fans in attendance still showed love for Williams and let her take the center stage to deliver a short speech.
“It was a fun ride. It’s been the most incredible ride and journey I’ve ever been in my life. I mean, I’m just so grateful to every single person. I’m just so grateful because you got me here,” Williams said.
When asked if Williams is still planning to make one last run after the US Open, she replied: “I don’t think so, but we will never know. I don’t know,” Williams added.