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Serena Williams Gets Standing Ovation As Her Farewell US Open Run Ends With Third-Round Defeat

The end came suddenly for Serena Williams in tonight’s US Open singles match. But she battled until the last point. Now the question remains if we have seen the last of one of the greatest women’s tennis players of all-time.

With the capacity Flushing Meadows crowd roaring on every Williams shot and groaning when she missed, Williams staved off match point six times in the third set during her match against Croatian-Australian Ajla Tomljanovic. She eventually fell in the third set 7-5, 6-7, 6-1.

Williams acknowledged the crowd cheers when it all ended, raising her hand to thank her fans. In a tearful post-match interview, she said, “Thank you so much. I tried.” She thanked her father and former coach, and “everyone who has been on my side so many years. It all started with my parents. And it all started with them, and I’m really grateful to them. These are happy tears.” She also thanked her sister, Venus, her doubles partner. “She’s the only reason Serena Williams existed.”

“It’s been a fun ride,” she said, as the crowd cheered.

Tomljanovic was gracious in her post-match interview. “I love Serena as much as you do.” She added, “She’s the greatest of all-time. Period.”

Williams has been the women singles No. 1 for a record 186 consecutive weeks and won 23 Grand Slam singles titles in her long career, the second-most of all-time behind Margaret Court.

Williams seemed to leave the door open to a potential return at one point. “You never know,” she said.

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