During the match point, Williams received a foot fault, in which a player is penalized for placing their foot outside of a line. This is not the first time she's received this kind of call: During the 2009 U.S. Open, Williams made headlines for a foot fault, after threatening to shove a tennis ball down the lineswoman's throat. More recently at the 2018 U.S. Open, Williams was issued a couple of controversial code violations and was accused of "having a meltdown." This time, she did nothing, and kept the game moving.
After the foot fault, Williams reached to hit a ball, and rolled over her ankle, accidentally hitting the net in process. "There’s nothing I did wrong on those match points. I didn’t do anything wrong," Williams said in a press conference following the match. "I stayed aggressive and [Pliskova] just literally hit the lines on some of them."
Williams didn't even seek medical assistance for her ankle roll: "I really hate calling the trainer out, to be honest," she told the New York Times. "And at that point I didn’t feel like I needed it or I didn’t feel like it would be a big deal. So I just kept going." She tied her shoelaces tighter in hopes that it would help with the pain, but ultimately Pliskova defeated her.
Lots of people are viewing this as a comeback for Pliskova, who used to be ranked No. 1 in the world. "[Pliskova] literally played her best tennis ever on those shots. I've never seen anything like it," Williams told ESPNW. "Next time I'm up 5-1 against anybody, I need to make sure I play lights out. It's a good learning experience." On Saturday, Pliskova will face 21-year-old Osaka, and one of them will become the new No. 1.
Although Williams' dream of accomplishing another Grand Slam has been deferred, she remains positive. "From day 1, I expect to go out and, quite frankly, to win," Williams told the New York Times. "That hasn’t happened. But I do like my attitude. I like that I don’t want to go out here and say, ‘I expect to lose because I had a year off, I’ve been playing for 10 months, I’m not supposed to win.’ I don’t have that attitude."