The biggest bummer for me was that there wouldn’t be Williams vs. Naomi Osaka in the semi-finals any more, which was something I was really looking forward to. The match could have easily been the highlight of the tournament.
Coming to the question, when discussing the outcome of the said match, let’s not be too partial towards Serena Williams. All the credits must go to Karolina Pliskova, who played incredibly well. She deserves as much recognition as possible. It’s a pity though that whenever this match will be discussed between, possibly, two of the finest tennis players at the moment, the conversation will always turn to the line referee and Serena’s injury – and not to Karolina! :(
In a decisive moment of the match, Serena was serving for a win with an ace but was called for a foot fault. The slow-motion footage of the foot fault was inconclusive. Of course, this led to an outcry from Serena’s fans on Twitter. Following that call, things turned bad for Serena. In her second serve, she twisted her left ankle. Evidently, she was in a lot of pain. And she eventually lost the bout.
One of the best things about this whole instance is how Serena Williams didn’t respond to the umpire for the wrong call. She kept her composure and continued with the game. This was a much respectable improvement since the 2009 incident, which is often credited as a low point in Serena’s iconic career. In 2009, in US Open Semifinal against Kim Clijsters, Serena was called for a foot fault. She lost her cool then, yelling at the line judge and even threatening her of shoving the ball down her throat. Later, Serena apologized for this. Clearly, she has matured a lot. And this is perhaps one of the biggest reasons why she’s considered a GOAT now.
In sports, referees make wrong decisions. It’s common. You can’t expect them to be instinctively correct all the time. So, the line judge did make a mistake in this match. But hiding behind that reason for the loss is not fair of the fans. And most importantly, it’s not fair for the legacy of Serena Williams. Fortunately, post-match, Williams didn’t use the wrong decision and her injury as an excuse. Like a champion, she owned her loss and credited her opponent. “She (Karolina) literally played her best tennis even on those shots,” Serena said.
So, let’s move past this whole thing of blames and what-ifs. Serena lost. Karolina won. It’s as simple as that.