Serena Williams’s latest bid for a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam title went unsuccessfully after her defeat to Naomi Osaka at the Australian Open semi-final.
Japanese third-seeded Osaka bid farewell to veteran American’s quest to reach a ninth Australian Open final with a 6-3, 6-4 win.
Though Williams, 39, took an early 2-0 lead, however, Osaka reeled off five straight games to leave her shellshocked.
Speaking after losing the match, Serena, the 23-time Grand Slam champion said, “The difference today was errors. I made so many errors.”
“Honestly, it was opportunities where I could have won. I could have been up 5-0. It was a big error day for me.”
Williams lamented a “big error day” and also refused to discuss whether it might have been her last Australian Open.
“I don’t know,” she replied when asked if her salute to the crowd was a farewell.
“If I ever say farewell, I wouldn’t tell anyone.”
Tears started to flow as Williams told reporters: “I don’t know. I’m done,” before walking out.
At today’s semi-final, Osaka had an upper edge as she hit 20 winners to Williams’s 12, while also committing three fewer unforced errors on 21.
“I hit a lot of unforced errors in the first few games, I was just really nervous and scared,” said Osaka speaking after winning the semi-final.
“But then I sort of eased my way into it and the biggest thing for me was having fun.”