(NewsNation) — Serena Williams lost a grueling match to Ajla Tomljanovic in three sets in the third round of the U.S. Open Friday night.
Williams has hinted this U.S. Open could be her last, which has drawn stars from Hollywood and other sports into the New York crowd.
Williams could not hold a 5-3 lead in the first set as Tomljanovic reeled off four straight points for a 7-5 win. Williams slugged out a tiebreaker-win in the second set that took 84 minutes, but Tomljanovic took the third set 6-1.
U.S. Open championships make up six of Williams’ 23 grand slam tournament titles. Last month, she announced she planned to “evolve” beyond tennis after the U.S. Open.
“Thanks, Dad, I know you’re watching. Thanks, Mom. Just thank everyone that’s here that’s been on my side for years, decades,” Williams told ESPN after the match through “happy tears.”
She also thanked her sister, Venus Williams, who recently played with her in the first round of the doubles tournament.
“I wouldn’t be Serena if there wasn’t Venus,” Williams said. “She’s the only reason Serena Williams ever existed.”
Even Tomljanovic lamented the possibility that we may have watched Williams’ last match.
“I think she embodies (the idea that) no dream is too big. No matter where you come from or the circumstances, you can do anything,” Tomljanovic told ESPN. “I will definitely miss seeing her on the courts. It will not be the same.”
Any chance we see Serena Williams on the court again?
“I don’t think so, but you never know,” Williams said.
Tomljanovic will play in the fourth round against 23-year-old Liudmila Samsonova of Russia on Sunday.