Serena Williams hinted that she will return to the court at some point in the future after going down in the third round of the US Open against Ajla Tomljanovic on Friday.

Williams, who saved five match points before eventually succumbing in the three-plus hour marathon, gave an emotional on-court interview where she thanked her family, but also highlighted that she felt like she was getting better as the tournament wore on.

When asked conclusively if this was her final US Open, she was non-committal, saying "you never know".

She took the insinuation that she is not finished playing a step further during her sit-down press conference, laying the breadcrumbs for another go around at the Australian Open.

"I don't know [what it would take to play again] – I'm not thinking about that. I always did love Australia, though," she said with a smile.

"But yeah, you know what, I've come a long way since last year at Wimbledon. Just not sure if that was my last moment or not. Making it a different moment I think is much better.

"And it takes a lot of work to get here. Clearly I'm still capable. It takes a lot more than that. 

"I'm ready to, like, be a mom, explore a different version of Serena. Technically in the world I'm still super young, so I want to have a little bit of a life while I'm still walking."

When asked what she thinks her life will be like moving forward, Williams said she is excited to be able to spend more time with her daughter, and that karaoke is on the agenda.

"I'm definitely resting tomorrow, and then probably spending some time with my daughter," she said. "I'm a super hands-on mom. I've been with her almost every single day of her life, minus two days or three days.

"It's been really hard on her, my career. So it will be, you know, nice just to do that and spend some time with her, do things that I never really have done or had an opportunity to do. I have such a bright future ahead of me, I don't know.

"Also, I'm kind of at an advantage because COVID happened. I think everyone shut down for a year, and we kind of got to see what our lives would be like if we weren't playing tennis. 

"Then I got injured last year, so I took off literally a year. So I got to see, again, like, what every day would be like to wake up and not have to go to the gym.

"So I don't know. I think I'm definitely probably going to be karaoke-ing tomorrow."

Touching on how she would like her career to be remembered, Williams said her unique passion and fire is at the forefront.

"I mean, there's so many things to be remembered by," she said. "Like the fight. I'm such a fighter. 

"I feel like I really brought something, and bring something, to tennis. The different looks, the fist pumps, the just crazy intensity. I think that obviously the passion, I think, is a really good word.

"Just continuing through ups and downs. I could go on and on. But I just honestly am so grateful that I had this moment, and that I'm Serena."

Serena Williams was emotional during her post-match interview in the sold-out Arthur Ashe Stadium after her loss to Ajla Tomljanovic in the third round, thanking her family for their decades of support.

Williams ended up going down in a match that lasted three hours and seven minutes, with a 15-minute final game where Williams saved five match points illustrating her fighting spirit down to the last moments.

If this is her final US Open – which she was hesitant to confirm – she will finish with the most main draw wins ever at the tournament with 108, and her 23 grand slam titles are also the most of all-time.

Speaking on the court after Tomljanovic gladly ceded the floor to the legend, Williams turned her attention immediately to her family as she reflected on the journey to this point.

"Thank you, Daddy. I know you're watching," she said as she began to tear up. "Thanks, Mom… I thank everyone that's here, that's been on my side so many years, decades. Oh, my gosh, literally decades.

"But it all started with my parents – they deserve everything. So I'm really grateful for them. These are happy tears, I guess. I don't know.

"And I wouldn't be Serena if there wasn't Venus, so thank you, Venus. She's the only reason that Serena Williams ever existed."

She added: "It's been a fun ride. It's been the most incredible ride and journey I've ever been on, I mean, in my life.

"I'm just so grateful to every single person that's ever said 'go, Serena' in their life. I'm just so grateful."

When asked if this would definitely be her last US Open, Williams was hesitant due to how well she performed, and left the question unanswered.

"I mean, I'm literally playing my way into this and getting better – I should have started sooner this year," she said with a laugh.

"I don't think so, but you never know. I don't know."

Serena Williams' last US Open has come to an end in the third round, going down 7-5 6-7 (4-7) 6-1 against Ajla Tomlanovic on Friday night.

It was a rough start for Williams, getting her serve broken in the first game of the match, but she got it straight back with a break-to-love by utilising her stunning power.

While her power brought her some easy points, it was also her undoing at times, with 16 unforced errors in the first set compared to 10 winners.

After securing another break to go up 5-3, serving for the opening set, Williams could not finish it off, losing the next four games in a row as Tomljanovic found a way to extend points and turn them into grinding rallies.

Not disheartened, Williams came out on fire in the second set, ripping off the first four games, but Tomljanovic again fought back. From 5-2 down, the Australian surged to level things at 5-5 before forcing a tiebreaker.

In the tiebreaker, Williams worked her way to a 5-4 lead, and took two consecutive mini-breaks to send the crowd into raptures and the match to a deciding set.

But where world number two Anett Kontaveit folded in Williams' last match, Tomljanovic did not, responding instantly after having her serve broken in the opening game to take the next five in a row, with a chance to serve things out at 5-1.

The crowd tried to will the living legend back into the contest, saving the first five of Tomljanovic's match points as she refused to go down easily, but she was not able to convert either of her three break point opportunities in a final game that lasted nearly 15 minutes, ultimately going down on the sixth match point.

After a collective groan in the sold-out Arthur Ashe Stadium, the crowd rose to their feet to pay their respect to the greatest women's tennis player of all time in her final outing at the US Open, as she treated the crowd to one more of her famous twirls at the grand slam she has won six times.

Data Slam: Six-time champion Serena leaves behind records that will stand the test of time

Williams finishes her US Open career with the seven more main draw wins than any other player, male or female. Her 108 wins leads Chris Evert (101), Jimmy Connors (98), Martina Navrilova (89) and Roger Federer (89).

She is also one of five players – along with Navrilova, Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic – to spend at least 300 weeks as the world number one, and her 23 career grand slam titles is the most of any player, leading Steffi Graf (22) and Nadal (22).

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Williams – 49/51

Tomljanovic – 32/30

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Williams – 11/7

Tomljanovic – 3/9 

BREAK POINTS WON

Williams – 5/13

Tomljanovic – 8/13

Coco Gauff admitted it would be a "lifelong dream" to face Serena Williams at the US Open, in what is likely to be the latter's final tournament of a glittering career.

Gauff reached the second week at Flushing Meadows in the women's singles for the first time after cruising to a 6-2-6-3 win over Madison Keys on Friday.

The number 12 seed saw off her fellow American in composed fashion to book her place in the last 16, exceeding her previous best result at the US Open in 2019.

Gauff was largely in control against the number 20 seed Keys to deliver near-flawless performance, chasing a second grand slam final of the year after finishing as runner-up at the French Open to Iga Swiatek.

She will face China's Zhang Shuai in the next round, but when asked if she will watch Williams' match against Ajla Tomljanovic later in the day during her on-court interview, Gauff said she would, adding: "It's been amazing watching Serena's matches so far. I don't know when I'd be due to face her but that's the goal.

"It's been a lifelong dream of mine to do that. Five years ago yesterday I was watching Venus and Serena play here. It's crazy to be on this court now.

"I tried to flex to my friends that I had courtside seats, now I'm on the court!"

Should both remain in the tournament, Gauff and Williams would face each other in the semi-finals.

Gauff also paid tribute to Keys, and to the crowd at Arthur Ashe Stadium, saying: "[The win] means a lot to me... I missed my alarm and was so late. I was here until 9pm last night and lost a doubles match [with Jessica Pegula].

"Kudos to my team, they got me up for it.

"I wasn't sure how the crowd was going to go. We all love Madison... I'm good friends with her off the court, but having support here meant a lot."

Andy Murray has admitted he is "surprised" to still be able to compete against top-level opponents given his injury history.

The 2012 US Open champion exited this year's competition following a third-round defeat to 13th seed Matteo Berrettini, though he did take the tie to four sets.

Having lost the first two sets, Murray fought back to win the tiebreaker in the third but his valiant attempts were ended by the Italian in the fourth, who sets up a round of 16 clash against Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.

Despite the loss, Murray was pleased with his performance at the tournament and encouraged by his ability to still go toe-to-toe with the likes of Berrettini.

"I've got a metal hip. It's not easy playing with that. It's really difficult. I'm surprised I'm still able to compete with guys that are right up at the top of the game," he said after the match.

"Matches like this, you know, I'm really proud that I have worked myself into a position where I'm able to do that. I'm really disappointed that I didn't get over the line today. 

"But I get reminded like 'this is the first time you've made the third round here since 2016'. It's been six years. It's been a difficult six years for me. It's been really hard.

"Although it's the first time I've only made the third round here, I'm really proud of that effort that I put in to get myself back into these positions. So, I'm hoping that in the future I can go further, but considering, I did all right."

Murray went on to explain how things feel differently for him on the court, identifying he cannot move in the same way Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic still can.

"A lot of the things feel the same, but obviously I'm just not quite capable of the sort of movement and physicality that I was five, six years ago. I mean, that's pretty obvious. You know, I shouldn't expect to be," he said.

"I think if you watch Rafa and Novak moving around the court now who are similar age, I think they're moving pretty similar to how they were five, six years ago, whereas for me there's obviously been a bit of a drop-off there.

"That can affect you in terms of how you have to play the points. Maybe you just don't track as many balls down as before. Maybe the reach isn't just quite as much as it was.

"But in terms of the shots and everything, there is nothing that is stopping me from hitting the same shots as I did before."

Ons Jabeur has now made it to the second week in all four grand slams after her win over Shelby Rogers at the US Open.

Jabeur, the fifth seed at Flushing Meadows, had previously fallen short of making the second week in the season's final grand slam, having reached the third round in three successive years between 2019 and 2021.

But the Tunisian world number five ended that wait with a 4-6 6-4 6-3 defeat of American Rogers.

Jabeur reached the final at Wimbledon this year, her first appearance in a major showpiece match, but lost to Elena Rybakina.

She has made it to the fourth round of the grand slams six times, having managed quarter-final runs at Wimbledon (2021) and the Australian Open (2020).

Another US Open fourth-round debutant awaits Jabeur in the form of Veronika Kudermetova, who despatched Dalma Galfi 6-2 6-0. 

Kudermetova's victory took just 46 minutes, making it the shortest match of the tournament.

Serena and Venus Williams saw hopes of one last US Open glory run together scuppered by a Czech pair who apologised for knocking out the American superstars.

The Williams sisters lost 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 against Lucie Hradecka and Linda Noskova on Arthur Ashe Stadium, with the doubles match given top billing in the New York night session.

Such scheduling had previously been unheard of, but such is the attention being foisted on the sisters that first-round doubles encounter was the match everyone wanted to see, knowing it could well be the last time the siblings play as a team.

Serena has indicated, albeit couched in somewhat vague terms, that this US Open will be her farewell to tennis. Venus, now 42, may follow suit and also retire from the sport.

While 40-year-old Serena remains in the singles, having beaten world number two Anett Kontaveit in round two to set up a Friday night clash with Ajla Tomljanovic, the dream of one more Flushing Meadows doubles title is over.

It was Czech-out time for the duo who have won 14 grand slam doubles titles together, and Hradecka said sorry to the partisan crowd for spoiling the party.

"I'm still in shock that we won, because we were playing for the first time with each other and I think we did a very good job," Hradecka said.

"I'm so sorry for you that we beat them, but we are so happy that we did it."

Hradecka had been planning on playing with Indian Sania Mirza, but an injury for Mirza put paid to that idea, meaning a new partner was required.

Noskova, 17, answered the 37-year-old Hradecka's call, and enjoyed a night to remember.

"Playing against the Williams sisters is a special moment for everybody, anytime," Noskova said.

"I was really lucky I could play with my doubles partner and we could win and pull out a good fight."

It was the Williams' first doubles match at a grand slam since the 2018 French Open, and their first at the US Open since 2014, and although it was a tight contest the younger pair just had the edge.

Neither sister gave an on-court interview or a press conference after the match, with all eyes now turning towards Serena's singles campaign, and the possibility of that extending deep into the second week.

Rafael Nadal feared he had broken his nose after being struck by his own racquet in the second-round win over Fabio Fognini at the US Open.

The Spaniard, seeking a 23rd grand slam title, once again recovered from losing the opening set to claim a 2-6 6-4 6-2 6-1 triumph at Flushing Meadows.

He will now face Richard Gasquet after extending his winning streak at majors in 2022 to 21 matches.

But he will hope the pain from a nasty-looking injury has subsided by then, with Nadal's racquet having bounced off the court and into his nose while he was stretching to make a return in the fourth set.

The world number three needed a medical timeout and treatment, returning with a plaster on his face as the incident ultimately did little to slow his momentum.

"It was just a strong hit," said Nadal. "At the beginning I thought I had broken the nose because it was a shock at the beginning. It was very painful.

"I lost a little bit of the feeling in my head. It was like being a little bit out of this world.

"I don't know, it seems like it is not broken. I am not sure yet. I don't know. I think it's getting bigger and bigger."

For the second match in succession, Nadal had to come from a set behind, having also lost the opener to first-round opponent Rinky Hijikata.

Having struggled to find his rhythm early on, the 36-year-old was pleased that his persistence paid off.

"I'm happy after a terrible start. I don't understand yet how I started that bad because the feeling before the match was good," he said, the win having secured his spot at the ATP Finals for a 17th time.

"But these kind of things sometimes happen, so you need to accept and keep going. That's what I did.

"I'm lucky that Fabio made some mistakes and I was able to start putting some balls in and finish the match playing obviously better, much better."

For a moment it seemed Rafael Nadal was in danger of a premature exit from the US Open against Fabio Fognini on Thursday but he steadied to improve his 2022 grand slam record to 21-0.

Nadal won the Australian Open and French Open titles earlier this year, but an abdominal injury forced him to withdraw from Wimbledon at the semi-final stage, handing Nick Kyrgios a passage to the decider won by Novak Djokovic.

The 22-time major champion is on a mission to make it three from four grand slam titles this calendar year in Djokovic's absence in New York.

The 36-year-old Spaniard will take on veteran Richard Gasquet next in the third round, whom Nadal boasts a remarkable 17-0 head-to-head record against.

Nadal's 2-6 6-4 6-2 6-1 win over Fognini also meant he became the first player to qualify for the season-ending ATP Finals in Turin too.

But the current world number three has bigger fish to fry, needing to maintain his perfect 2022 record at majors for a fifth US Open crown.

If he succeeds, Nadal will not quite claim a calendar Grand Slam - achieved only by five players in singles history in Don Budge (1938), Maureen Connolly (1953), Rod Laver (1962, 1969), Margaret Court (1970) and Steffi Graf (1988) - but he would have achieved a staggering 26-0 record at majors for 2022.

For a moment it seemed Rafael Nadal was in danger of a premature exit from the US Open against Fabio Fognini on Thursday but he steadied to improve his 2022 grand slam record to 21-0.

Nadal won the Australian Open and French Open titles earlier this year, but an abdominal injury forced him to withdraw from Wimbledon at the semi-final stage, handing Nick Kyrgios a passage to the decider won by Novak Djokovic.

The 22-time major champion is on a mission to make it three from four grand slam titles this calendar year in Djokovic's absence in New York.

The 36-year-old Spaniard will take on veteran Richard Gasquet next in the third round, whom Nadal boasts a remarkable 17-0 head-to-head record against.

Nadal's 2-6 6-4 6-2 6-1 win over Fognini also meant he became the first player to qualify for the season-ending ATP Finals in Turin too.

But the current world number three has bigger fish to fry, needing to maintain his perfect 2022 record at majors for a fifth US Open crown.

If he succeeds, Nadal will not quite claim a calendar Grand Slam - achieved only by five players in singles history in Don Budge (1938), Maureen Connolly (1953), Rod Laver (1962, 1969), Margaret Court (1970) and Steffi Graf (1988) - but he would have achieved a staggering 26-0 record at majors for 2022.

Rafael Nadal's quest for a 23rd grand slam title remains alive after overcoming a slow start to defeat Italian veteran Fabio Fognini in four sets on Thursday.

Nadal lost the opening set and trailed 4-2 in the second frame before responding in trademark fashion, winning 16 of the next 19 games, to set up a third-round meeting against Richard Gasquet.

The Spaniard won 2-6 6-4 6-2 6-1 in two hours and 42 minutes, having also lost the opening set in the first-round win over Rinky Hijikata.

This year's Australian Open and French Open champion's surge to victory was momentarily halted in the fourth set 3-0 up in the fourth game when his racquet bounced off the hard court and into his nose when stretching for a shot.

Nadal needed a medical timeout and treatment but would return to play on, appearing relatively untroubled despite wearing a bandage over his nose, to complete the win.

The four-time US Open champion, who amassed 37 unforced errors for the match, found himself in a spot of bother after losing the first frame with Fognini converting both of his two break points, before a wild second set that included seven breaks of serve.

Fognini appeared on course for a two-set lead at 4-2 but 23 unforced errors in the second set let him down with Nadal's pressure rising.

The Spaniard's game went up a level in the third, improving his first serve percentage to 75 per cent and only omitting five unforced errors and he carried that momentum through the fourth where he broke Fognini in the second and sixth games, before serving it out.

Data Slam: Breaks galore as Rafa gets revenge

Way back at the 2015 Open playing in a similarly late evening match past midnight, Fognini came from two sets down to defeat Nadal but the Spaniard reversed that this time around. Back in 2015 there were 17 breaks of serve for the match, while in 2022, with a set less played, there were 15 breaks for the match. Almost half of those were in a crazy second set.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Nadal – 20/37

Fognini – 24/59

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Nadal – 4/2

Fognini – 1/9

BREAK POINTS WON

Nadal – 9/14

Fognini – 6/10

Rafael Nadal's quest for a 23rd grand slam title remains alive after overcoming a slow start to defeat Italian veteran Fabio Fognini in four sets on Thursday.

Nadal lost the opening set and trailed 4-2 in the second frame before responding in trademark fashion, winning 16 of the next 19 games, to set up a third-round meeting against Richard Gasquet.

The Spaniard won 2-6 6-4 6-2 6-1 in two hours and 42 minutes, having also lost the opening set in the first-round win over Rinky Hijikata.

This year's Australian Open and French Open champion's surge to victory was momentarily halted in the fourth set when his racquet bounced off the hard court and into his nose when stretching for a shot.

Nadal needed a medical timeout and treatment but would return to play on, appearing relatively untroubled despite wearing a bandage over his nose, to complete the win.

The four-time US Open champion found himself in a spot of bother after losing the first frame with Fognini converting both of his two break points, before a wild second set that included seven breaks of serve.

Fognini appeared on course for a two-set lead at 4-2 but 23 unforced errors in the second set let him down with Nadal's pressure rising.

The Spaniard's game went up a level in the third, improving his first serve percentage to 75 per cent and only omitting five unforced errors and he carried that momentum through the fourth where he broke Fognini in the second and sixth games, before serving it out.

Data Slam: Breaks galore as Rafa gets revenge

Way back at the 2015 Open playing in a similarly late evening match past midnight, Fognini came from two sets down to defeat Nadal but the Spaniard reversed that this time around. Back in 2015 there were 17 breaks of serve for the match, while in 2022, with a set less played, there were 15 breaks for the match. Almost half of those were in a crazy second set.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Nadal – 20/37

Fognini – 24/59

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Nadal – 4/2

Fognini – 1/9

BREAK POINTS WON

Nadal – 9/14

Fognini – 6/10

Tennis great Roger Federer has congratulated outgoing 23-time major winner Serena Williams on an "incredible career".

The 41-year-old Swiss revealed in a video message posted by the ATP Tour that he stayed up as a teenager to watch Williams' maiden US Open triumph in 1999 and lavished praise on her impact in the sport.

Williams, 40, last month announced her intention to evolve out of tennis after the US Open, where she has remarkably progressed to the third round following her upset win over second seed Anett Kontaveit on Thursday.

"I wanted to congratulate you for a most incredible career," 20-time grand slam champion Federer said.

"You know what you've achieved. I know what you've done. You know what it is, it just beyond incredible.

"I know it's probably with mixed feelings you're leaving this wonderful sport that has given you everything and more. I wish you all the best with your family."

Williams has won six US Open titles during her decorated playing career, including her maiden Flushing Meadows triumph in 1999.

"I think back at '99 at the US Open when you played Martina Hingis, I stayed up late to watch you battle it out as that was the beginning to your incredible career that you've had ever since," Federer said.

"I think the future is going to be wonderful for you. I'm sure it is. Please return to tennis. The tennis community and family will always welcome you with open arms and always be happy to see you again, so please return.

"For now enjoy this moment, enjoy the US Open, enjoy everything that's coming this next couple of weeks even though it might be hard for you.

"But I'm thinking of you and all my respect. I wish you all the very best for your future. Take care Serena."

Federer has not played professional tennis since Wimbledon last year, but has not retired and the former world number one is hoping for a return to action soon.

Serena Williams and sister Venus were unable to advance past the first round of the doubles at the US Open, going down 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 against Czech duo Lucie Hradecka and Linda Noskova on Thursday.

It was the Williams' first doubles match at a grand slam since the 2018 French Open, and their first at the US Open since 2014, less than 24 hours after Serena's stunning upset of world number two Anett Kontaveit.

Leading 5-4 in the first set, the sisters had two opportunities to break and secure the first set, but ultimately let them slip, before going down in a competitive tiebreaker.

They were far from outclassed, winning 48 per cent (49-of-102) of the points in the opening set, and 45 per cent (33-of-74) in the second.

After going down 3-0 in the second frame, instead of rolling over, the Williams sisters fought back, pulling it back to 4-4, but that would be their last stand before dropping the next two games and the match.

There was no on-court interview for the Americans, although 17-year-old Noskova called it "a special moment" and said "I was really lucky" for the opportunity to play against her heroes.

Serena will continue her singles campaign in the third round on Saturday night against unseeded Australian Ajla Tomljanovic.

Alize Cornet is through to the third round of the US Open after defeating Katerina Siniakova 6-1 1-6 6-3, making it the first time she has been beyond the second round of every grand slam in a single season.

Cornet, who defeated reigning champion Emma Raducanu in straight sets to begin her campaign, was terrific with her return game early on, winning 54 per cent of the points off Siniakova's serve in the opening set.

Three double faults for Cornet and the inability to win a single point off her second serve led to a quick second frame for Siniakova, but she steadied in the decider, becoming the first Frenchwoman to win her opening two rounds of each grand slam in a season since Caroline Garcia in 2017.

Cornet has now won five of her past six matches and should be considered a threat given her victory over world number one Iga Swiatek at Wimbledon in July.

She will play the winner between Danielle Collins and Cristina Bucsa in her next match.

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