Serena Williams September 2 2022 US Open
Serena Williams of the US reacts in the third set against Ajla Tomlijanovic of Australia during their Women's Singles Third Round match on Day Five of the 2022 US Open at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 02, 2022 in the Flushing neighbourhood of the Queens borough of New York City. Image Credit: AFP

Serena Williams suffered a likely career-ending defeat when she was knocked out of the US Open on Friday (September 2) by Australia's Ajla Tomljanovic.

The 23-time Grand Slam title winner, and six-time champion in New York, lost her third round clash 7-5, 6-7 (4/7), 6-1.

Williams, who turns 41 in three weeks' time, had said she remained "vague" over her retirement plans but without a major title since 2017, her 27-year-career is now almost certainly over.

On Wednesday, Serena dramatically extended her iconic career with a never-say-die, three-set victory over world number two Anett Kontaveit at the US Open.

The 40-year-old, 23-time Grand Slam title winner triumphed 7-6 (7/4), 2-6, 6-2 in front of a raucous, partisan Arthur Ashe Stadium Court crowd to reach the third round of a tournament she has won six times.

Having declared that she was already “evolving away from tennis” after a 27-year career, Williams’ force of will ensured that the retirement party was put on hold for a little longer.

“There’s no rush,” said Serena on court when reminded that she had declared herself to be in the closing stages of her career.

“There’s still a little left in me so we’ll see. I’m a pretty good player. I love a challenge.”

“I’m just Serena, you know. Honestly after I lost the second set I thought ‘oh my goodness, I’ve got to give my best effort because this could be it.”