Serena Williams lost what is expected to be the last match of her transcendent tennis career night, eliminated from the U.S. Open in the third round by Ajla Tomljanovic 7-5, 6-7 (4), 6-1 before an electric crowd at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Unwilling to go quietly, Williams staved off five match points to prolong the three-hours-plus proceedings, as some spectators stood to watch, camera phones at the ready. No one — save, of course, Tomljanovic — wanted this to end.
“It’s been a fun ride,” an emotional Williams said in her post-match interview on-court.
It did on Tomljanovic’s sixth chance, when Williams netted a shot.
Williams turns 41 this month and recently told the world that she is ready to start “evolving” away from her playing days — she expressed distaste for the word “retirement” — and while she has remained purposely vague about whether this appearance at Flushing Meadows…