Distraught after yet another unsuccessful attempt to land her 24th Grand Slam title, Serena Williams cut short her post-match press conference on Thursday.
After showing early promise, the 39-year-old American simply couldn’t stand up to a rampaging Naomi Osaka as the World Number 3 pulled away to a straight-set win to seal a spot in the final.
Clearly struggling for answers, a tearful Serena brought an early halt to the press conference.
Serena was beaten in straight sets by Naomi Osaka
The 23-time Grand Slam winner came into the Australian Open in the hope of ending her three-year wait for a 24th title that would be put on level with the legendary Margaret Court’s career tally, which is the highest ever in the game.
And, the determination and fierce drive to reach the career landmark showed in the way she stormed past her opponents in the early rounds.
Before being brutally unraveled in the last-four tie on Thursday, the 39-year-old dropped just one set in her passage to the semifinals.
It was in her fourth-round encounter against Belarussian Aryna Sabalenka, a fiery opponent, who gave her the only real contest before the semifinal.
However, the American followed up her nervy fourth-round win over the Belarussian with a typically aggressive and thumping victory over two-time Grand Slam champion Simona Halep.
Serena Williams’ agonizing wait for 24th Grand Slam title prolonged
Going into the last-four clash tied 2-2 in head-to-head battles with the Japanese, Serena made her intent known early as opened the proceedings with a break of serve.
However, it didn’t take Osaka long to break back and restore parity in the contest.
Thereafter, it was all Osaka, as she raised her game by a fair few notches and put pressure on Serena’s serve to take the opening set 6-3.
Though the American did show incredible defensive skills to thwart Osaka’s forays into the net and push her game, she eventually wilted under the relentless squeeze that the Japanese star brought to bear on her.
Serena seemed clearly at a loss to come to terms with her defeat at the press conference as she mumbled, also incoherently, as reporters pressed her for answers.
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To a question on whether her loss was a one-off, considering how well she had played on the way to reaching the last-four stage, Serena bowed her head and mumbled, “I don’t know, I’m done” , before walking off.