Serena Williams falls in 3rd round of U.S. Open, retirement expected
Tennis legend lost to unseeded Ajla Tomljanovic in 3 sets
NEW YORK — A defiant Serena Williams bid an emotional good-bye to the U.S. Open with a third-round loss to Ajla Tomljanovic on Friday, in what may have been the last singles match of her glittering career.
Defeat has always been hard to swallow for the fiercely competitive Williams and no doubt the 7-5 6-7 (4) 6-1 loss to the 46th ranked Australian stung her to her core.
But after a joyous run into the third round there was no shame in a loss to the gritty Tomljanovic, allowing the 23-times Grand Slam winner to exit with dignity intact and head held high.
Her three matches, highlighted by a second-round win over world number two Anett Kontaveit, were a gift to her fans, the relentless never surrender attitude that made her tennis' dominant player for over two decades on display right until the very final point.
Always up for a fight, the 40-year-old came out swinging, forcing Tomljanovic to go the distance. The Australian needed six match points to deliver the knockout punch and bring an end to an engrossing three-plus-hour slugfest.
Williams had signaled her intention to retire last month, saying she was "evolving away from tennis" but never confirming the U.S. Open as her final event.
Casper Ruud outlasts Tommy Paul
No. 5 seed Casper Ruud of Norway took four hours and 23 minutes to defeat No. 29 seed Tommy Paul of the U.S. 7-6 (3), 6-7 (5), 7-6 (2), 5-7, 6-0 Friday in the third round of the U.S. Open in New York.
Ruud survived the marathon match, and Paul's 12 aces, by winning 70 of his 98 first-service points (71.4 percent).
Paul saved 11 of 18 break points, converted five of his six break-point attempts and held a 61-37 edge in winners. But Paul also committed 82 unforced errors compared to Ruud's 50.
Ruud will play Frenchman Corentin Moutet in the fourth round. Moutet - a lucky-loser entry into the draw - got by Argentina's Pedro Cachin 6-3, 4-6, 6-2, 7-5.
Spanish 12th seed Pablo Carreno Busta beat Australian 18th seed Alex de Minaur 6-1, 6-1, 3-6, 7-6 (5) to advance. Carreno Busta will face Russia's Karen Khachanov, the 27th seed, in the next round.
Khachanov advanced when third-round opponent Jack Draper of Great Britain retired with Khachanov leading 6-3, 4-6, 6-5. Draper was coming off an upset of Canadian sixth seed Felix Auger-Aliassime in the previous round.
Andy Murray of Great Britain also bowed out Friday, with No. 13 seed Matteo Berrettini of Italy capturing a 6-4, 6-4, 7-6 (1), 6-3 win in three hours and 47 minutes.
Berrettini will play Spain's Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in the Round of 16. Davidovich Fokina took care of business against Colombian qualifier Daniel Elahi Galan 6-4, 5-7, 6-4, 6-4.
This story was written by one of our partner news agencies. Forum Communications Company uses content from agencies such as Reuters, Kaiser Health News, Tribune News Service and others to provide a wider range of news to our readers. Learn more about the news services FCC uses here.