Serena says goodbye to her career in a duel of time

The end of the race has come Serena Williams. An ending as bitter as what we expected, but an ending that came in an epic way, in a match with alternatives, with moments of adrenaline, with spectacular points and with a flame that remains intact beyond Serena's sports career: the flame who never gives up, who fights to the end, who draws strength from where there are none. Because Serena plays better with everything against her, and when her physique gave us no more, she was able to excite us by saving match balls left and right until an outstanding Ajla Tomljanovic He put the finishing touch to this third-round duel of the US Open 2022the last of the career of a great champion (7-5, 6-7(4), 6-1)

Both players came out to the game like two gunslingers who drew their bullets from minute one. Tomljanovic was a different challenge for Serena, a player capable of absorbing the speed of the American well and who, over time, would find formulas to drive Serena crazy. Meanwhile, it was Serena who managed to apply her tennis in a first set that seemed to go her way: it was she who played strongly from the back of the court, it was she who opened the court with her forehand, while Ajla played in bursts, but always going at the pace dictated by the American.

That gave Serena her first break of the match, a break that allowed her to serve to win the first set. There she repeated the script of a well-known movie, a movie that we already saw in the duel against Anett Kontaveit: nerves and anxiety gripped Serena's blows, who drowned in unforced errors and gave up the break again. However, unlike in the match against the Estonian, Serena was unable to recover and she gave up her serve again for Tomljanovic to take the first set. It's no coincidence: the Aussie stepped out of her comfort zone and started playing sliced ​​backhands, lowering the ball and forcing Serena to flex and hit awkwardly, a change in tactics that paid off.


It was a blow that left Arthur Ashe absolutely frozen, a confirmation that today's game would go a different way than Kontaveit. But Serena wanted to have one more trick up her sleeve, an ace with which to get the tennis world back on its feet. In a second set of maximum equality, the youngest of the Williams recovered the service, which worked horribly in the first set (she did not score even 50% of the first), making the exchanges shorter, a pattern of play that reported dividends. She had up to four set points with 3-5 in her favor, break balls that she could not convert but that caused a simply wonderful tie-break.

It was a sudden death that encapsulated Serena's tennis and spirit throughout her career: fearless, with overwhelming shots, taking the initiative away from her rival, taking over the four corners of the court. As in her last tie-break against Kontaveit, Serena lifted Arthur Ashe with winners, securing us a third set after more than two hours of play. She may not have arrived with a full gas tank, but the fight was still non-negotiable.


Despite starting with a break in favor, Serena Williams could not bear the three hours of the match that she ended up carrying on her shoulders. Honorable mention to Tomljanovic's integrity, who never dwarfed herself on stage and who knew how to maintain her patterns against a decimated Serena, who did not run with the same intensity and who saw how the Australian's ball speed surpassed her. Even with everything and with that, even with an end as painful as it is predictable on the horizon, Williams earned the right to make our hair stand on end before saying goodbye, saving more than five match points based on winners and winners. to the lines, insisting on keeping his flame and his spirit alive, until Tomljanovic sealed the victory on the sixth match point.

Life takes many turns, but there is nothing eternal. Today marks the end of a legend... but if this was the end, it was a perfect end for one of the greatest legends in the history of the sport. Why say more, when everything has been said. Thanks, Serena. Thanks.