In a stunning and intense match against Italy’s Roberta Vinci, Serena Williams, often dubbed the best athlete in the world, was forced to end her Grand Slam bid just two matches shy of Saturday’s final.
Vinci’s win was a surprising one for the tennis world — Williams’ flawless run left little doubt that she would complete her goal. In the end, Vinci defeated Williams 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 on Friday.
In a post-match interview, Vinci called the victory the best moment of her life.
From the New York Times:
Williams had never even lost a set to Vinci in four previous meetings. She came into Friday with a 33-match winning streak at Grand Slam tournaments and had not lost at the U.S. Open since the 2011 final.
Pennetta, 33, and Vinci, 32, have each won Grand Slam titles in doubles, but neither had advanced to a Grand Slam singles final until Friday.
Williams, at 33, was experienced enough to understand just how precious an opportunity this run provided her. Though she had her moments of brilliance on Friday, including 16 aces and many overpowering return winners, the pressure ultimately proved too much. Down the stretch, she was clearly fighting herself as much as Vinci, a clever tactician whose crisply sliced one-handed backhand made it difficult at times for Williams to generate her trademark pace.
While it’s difficult to imagine what the loss means to Williams, fans took to Twitter to express their disappointment and offer love and support to the beloved tennis star.
Fans (and celebrities) also took to social media to blame rapper Drake, Serena’s rumored boyfriend, who showed up to Friday’s match.
And while fans tweeted out kind words of encouragement to Williams, Vinci — no doubt still shocked — was celebrating her win. Via the Times:
Vinci apologized to the crowd for changing the story line.
“For the American people, for Serena, for the Grand Slam and everything,” she said. “But today is my day. Sorry, guys.”
To check out some of Williams’ best tennis moments, see here. We’re still rooting for you, Serena!
SOURCE: NYT | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty, Twitter | VIDEO SOURCE: NDN