Australian open: Naomi Osaka into Australian Open final as Serena Williams makes a tearful exit
Naomi Osaka Stopped Serena Williams and Her Latest Grand Slam Record Hopes
Naomi Osaka into Australian Open final as Serena Williams makes a tearful exit
Serena Williams broke down in tears and cut short her post-match news conference after her 6-3 6-4 defeat to Naomi Osaka in the Australian Open semi-finals on Thursday ended her bid for a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam title.
Williams won her last major title in 2017 at Melbourne Park before taking a break from the sport to give birth to daughter Alexis Olympia and has lost four major finals since returning to tennis in 2018.
The 39-year-old, who is one Grand Slam short of Margaret Court’s record, walked off Rod Laver Arena to a standing ovation on Thursday, pausing for a moment to put her hand on her heart and wave to the crowd.
Defeat clearly stung the 39-year-old, who left her brief post-match press conference overwhelmed. Asked to explain how she’d had such a bad day at the office, she replied, “I don’t know.” Then, choking back tears, added, “I’m done,” and exited stage right.
At the end of an error-strewn first set, both players were serving below 50% and both had struck more unforced errors than winners – Williams fourfold. Remarkably, the seven-time champion had a stats sheet featuring no winners but 10 unforced errors on her forehand side. “The difference today was errors,” Williams later said. “It was a big error day for me.”
This panoply of mistakes contributed to a staccato rhythm with only one rally extending beyond eight strokes. The action was a series of false starts without a race ever breaking out. The Flo-Jo-inspired catsuit proved ultimately in vain.
“The difference today was errors,” Williams said earlier in her news conference. “Honestly, it was opportunities where I could have won. I could have been up 5-Love. I just made so many errors.”Not like I was on the run or anything, they were just easy, easy mistakes. It was a big error day for me today.”