Major Upset Alert: Serena Williams Loses to 300-1 Underdog at U.S. Open, Ending Grand Slam Hopes

It was a disappointing day for Serena Williams, a hopeful to achieve the historic Grand Slam, losing to Italy's Roberta Vinci

Photo: David Goldman/AP

Serena Williams‘ bid for a historic Grand Slam has come to a disappointing end.

Williams, 33, a fan favorite, was on track to win her fourth consecutive U.S. Open – and with it, history, as the first woman since Steffi Graf to complete the Grand Slam (all four Majors in a calendar year) – since 1988.

Williams faced off against Roberta Vinci of Italy (a 300-1 underdog) on Friday in the U.S. Open semifinals. The match ended in disappointment for Williams with Vinci triumphing over Williams in a 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 win.

“Today is my day. Sorry, guys,” said Vinci in her post-match interview on ESPN. Asked what she was most proud of, the victorious 32-year-old said, “my fight. My game.” Williams exited the court quickly following the loss.

In a press conference following the match, Williams told reporters, “I don’t want to talk about how disappointing it is for me.” As for Vinci, “I think she played literally out of her mind. I think she just played really well. She just did not want to lose today,” said Williams, before promptly exiting the press room as well.

A victory could have tied Williams to Graf’s 22 Major championships for her career, placing both tennis stars second to Margaret Court’s all-time record of 24 titles. Instead only Graf remains in the coveted spot.

Prior to the U.S. Open, Williams had only lost twice for the year. Williams lost 6-3, 5-7, 4-6 to Swiss teenager Belinda Bencic at the Rogers Cup semi-finals in August, per The Guardian. She also lost 6-2, 6-3 to Petra Kvitova in the semifinals of the Madrid Open in Spain in May. That loss ended Williams s 27-match winning streak on the WTA tour, which dated to 2014, according to The New York Times.

Although Williams was a fan favorite going into the intense match (among the crowd: her rumored beau, Drake), the 33-year-old didn’t underestimate her opponent.

In a press conference following her U.S. Open quarterfinals win earlier this week, Williams noted how tough Vinci played when the two met in the Rogers Cup.

“I’m not going to underestimate her. She played really well,” Williams told reporters. “She’s not in the semifinals of a Grand Slam for no reason. She knows what to do and she knows what to play.”

Leading up to the U.S. Open, Williams appeared on Good Morning America where she dismissed negativity from body-shamers and emphasized the importance of keeping her head in the game. “I don’t have time to be brought down,” she said. “I have Grand Slams to win, I have people to inspire.”

Though she didn’t complete this year’s Slam, it’s safe to say Williams remains an inspiration to her older sister, Venus.

The fellow tennis pro has always been Serena’s biggest cheerleader, both on and off the court.

“From the very beginning she has inspired me – this was a long time ago, before she won the majors – her heart on the court and her ability to perform under the most pressure,” Venus told PEOPLE in July. “It’s a special quality that not a lot of people have.”

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