New York, September 8: Flushing Meadows appeared set to bear witness to a trademark Serena Williams comeback in the US Open final, but the 23-time grand slam champion indicated she will not lift a major trophy again until she shows her true self after falling short against Bianca Andreescu.
Williams again missed out on an opportunity to tie Margaret Court's all-time record as she was beaten 6-3 7-5 by Andreescu at Arthur Ashe Stadium on Saturday (September 7).
Andreescu dominated the match for a set and a half, reading the Williams serve excellently, producing deep returns and making the 37-year-old contest long rallies she was frequently on the wrong end of.
However, the tide appeared to be turning in a significant way as Andreescu let a championship point slip at 5-1 and allowed Williams to completely erase the deficit.
With a raucous crowd vociferously on her side, most would have expected her to go on and take the set along with a prospective decider to finally end her wait for number 24.
However, Andreescu stemmed the tide with a hold and then pounced on another poor Williams service game of which there were too many, an unreturnable forehand winner clinching the Canadian's first grand slam title on her maiden main draw appearance at the US Open.
For Williams it is now four major final defeats since returning from giving birth to her daughter, though she was less than a year removed from pregnancy when she lost to Angelique Kerber at Wimbledon in 2018.
The American was severely critical of her own display and believes she has not produced her best in any of those defeats.
Asked what she has been thinking since the final point, Williams told a media conference: "Well, I was thinking, okay, Serena, you didn't miss a serve, you lost serve maybe twice in the whole tournament, and you didn't hit a first serve in today, so... That was obviously on my mind, like how do I play at a level like this in a final?
"Again, I think Bianca obviously played well. I think her returns make me play better and puts pressure on my serve. At the same time it's inexcusable for me to play at that level."
"I feel like in 20 years, I definitely will be like, wow, that wasn't so bad," Williams said of her past four slam final defeats.
"It's very hard right now in the moment to take this and say, it didn't work out for you today, but it's really hard right now to take that moment in and to say you did okay, because I don't believe I did.
"I believe I could have played better. I believe I could have done more. I believe I could have just been more Serena today.
"I honestly don't think Serena showed up. I have to kind of figure out how to get her to show up in grand slam finals."