Anett Kontaveit has broken down in tears and abruptly quit her press conference after her loss to Serena Williams in the second round at the US Open.
Williams turned back the clock on Wednesday night in New York to stun the World No.2 and move into the third round of the hard-court grand slam.
Putting her retirement plans on pause, the 40-year-old American prevailed in an absorbing two hour and 27 minute contest, winning 7-6 (7-4) 2-6 6-2.
Williams received overwhelming support from over 20,000 fans packed into Arthur Ashe Stadium on Wednesday night, with spectators desperate to see the American legend in her farewell tournament.
However many TV viewers once again thought the crowd crossed the line between cheering on their home favourite and showing poor sportsmanship.
Fans roared with delight every time Kontaveit made an unforced error, while silence seemed to fall around the stadium when the Estonian hit a winner.
Kontaveit referenced the crowd as she broke down in tears in her post-match press conference.
“I definitely had no shame losing to Serena,” she said with tears rolling down her face.
“It was very difficult with the crowd.”
Kontaveit then abruptly stood up and walked out of the conference room, ending the interviews early.
Fans had earlier decried the ‘disgusting’ actions from the crowd during the match, with many believing more respect should have been shown towards Kontaveit.
Serena Williams to face Ajla Tomljanovic
A third-round clash with Ajla Tomljanovic awaits after the Australian beat Russia’s Evgeniya Rodina 1-6 6-2 7-5 just minutes prior to Williams’ victory.
“It’s no rush here,” Williams said about her plans to step away from tennis after the US Open.
“I’m loving this crowd. There’s still a little left in me. We’ll see. I’m a pretty good player, this is what I do best. I love a challenge and I’m rising to the challenge.
“I haven’t played many matches, but I’ve been practising really well. The last couple of matches it’s come together. After I lost the second set I thought, ‘I’ve got to give my best effort because this could be it’.
“I’m just looking at it as a bonus. I don’t have anything to lose. I’ve had an X on my back since 1999. I really enjoy just coming out and enjoying it.”
Tomljanovic feels it’s a touch of fate that she finally gets to play the 23-time grand slam champion in what will be her farewell tournament.
“I don’t look at the draws, so I wasn’t sure where she was but I did have a moment of, like, before the tournament started when I was in my bed and just thought about playing her here on Arthur Ashe before the draw came out,” said the Aussie No.1.
“I’m glad that it’s now in a third round.
“It’s a little surreal to me that I made it and played in the same era as her, but I was quite sad before this tournament that I’ve never faced her so far. Could have been a chance I’ll never play her before she retires.
“Yeah, it’s definitely something I’ll never forget in my career. Definitely be something I have never experienced yet.
“It’s going to be a huge moment no matter the outcome. But no matter the fact that I’ve been a Serena fan since I was a kid, on Friday night I’ll just be a competitor and I’ll try my best to win.”