Serena Williams' bid to win her seventh US Open came to an end when she lost to Victoria Azarenka in the semifinals on Thursday. In the third and final set, Williams was seen clutching her left leg, which led to her taking a medical timeout for a tape job. After the delay, which lasted five minutes, Williams went back to work but could not keep up with Azarenka, who will face Naomi Osaka in the championship.
After the match, Williams said she's dealing with an Achilles issue. However, she added she's not blaming the injury for the loss. "I don't think that had anything to do with it," Williams said as reported by the Associated Press. "Ultimately, it didn't affect my play at all." Williams was looking to win her record-tying 24th grand slam. The last time Williams won the US Open was in 2014, and her last grand slam title was in 2017 at the Australian Open. Williams lost in the US Open finals in 2018 and 2019.
"I mean, it's obviously disappointing. At the same time, you know, I did what I could today," Williams said who has six US Open singles trophies. "I feel like other times I've been close and I could have done better. Today I felt like I gave a lot." Williams will turn 39 at the end of the month and has confirmed she will compete in the French Open which starts on Sept. 27. As for Azarenka, this will be her first championship match for the first time in seven years.
"How is it different? I mean, mentally, I'm in such a different place. I think seven years ago, after I won the Australian Open and stuff, and playing kind of consistently with good results, it was kind of — I wouldn't say expected — but kind of expected for me to be in the final. I don't think that was the case this year," Azarenka said.
Osaka, who beat Williams at the US Open final in 2018, is looking for her third career grand slam win. When speaking with PopCulture.com last month, Osaka said she was feeling good about her chances of playing well at the US Open. "I don’t go to a tournament without thinking that I have a chance to win," Osaka said. "I feel really good right now and am extremely focused. I'll miss the fans this year because I love the energy that you feel in big stadiums, but it's for the better and will make a return to play with fans that much more special."