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Serena Williams abruptly withdrew from the French Open, citing an Achilles heel injury that made it difficult to walk.

Williams withdrew from the French Open three weeks after losing her best chance for a 24th Grand Slam championship at the U.S. Open in New York.

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On Wednesday, Williams, 38, announced she was withdrawing from the French Open and is "struggling to walk" due to the severity of the injury.

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"I really wanted to give an effort here. It's my Achilles that didn't have enough time to properly heal after the (US) Open," Williams said at a press conference. "I was able to get it somewhat better, but just looking long term in this tournament -- will I be able to get through enough matches? For me, I don't think I could. Struggling to walk, so that's kind of a telltale sign I should try to recover."

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Serena Williams won her first tennis title in three years at the Auckland Classic on Sunday. The 23-time Grand Slam singles champion beat unseeded fellow American Jessica Pegula 6-3 6-4 to win her 73rd WTA title overall.

It is Williams' first title since she won the Australian Open while eight weeks pregnant with her daughter Olympia in 2017.

"It feels good. It's been a long time," Williams said. "I think you could see the relief on my face."

"I have been playing for so long and been through so much and I'm happy to be doing something I love," she told reporters.

The 38-year-old mother of one celebrated with her 2-year-old daughter Olympia on the court. Williams will donate her $43,000 prize money and her match-worn tennis dresses to a fund to battle bush fires in Australia.

Williams seeks to tie tennis legend Margaret Court's record of 24 Grand Slam singles titles at the Australian Open, beginning on January 20.

Williams and her doubles partner Caroline Wozniacki were beaten 6-4 6-4 by Asia Muhammad and Taylor Townsend in the women's doubles final.

U.S. President Donald Trump took to Twitter.com to congratulate Williams on her big win. Trump called Williams "a great player and an even greater person."

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Serena Williams was reportedly "worried" about bestie Meghan Markle's presence at her U.S. Open championship match against Canadian tennis phenom Bianca Andreescu, 19.

Bianca beat Serena in straight sets 6-3, 7-5 to win her first ever major title.

Meghan flew to New York City on a budget commercial airline to watch her bestie try to win her 24th Grand Slam title in the U.S. Open women's final on Saturday.

Serena's camp was reportedly "concerned" that Meghan's presence would be a bad omen for Serena, who loses whenever Meghan watches her play.

According to Page Six, Serena, who turns 38 this month, asked her coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, if the Duchess should attend the women's final because Serena is "superstitious".

"Serena asked her coach about Meghan coming when she won last night and everyone is worried, as tennis players are very superstitious, and Serena lost when Meghan came to watch her at Wimbledon," a source told Page Six.

A separate source told Page Six, "Serena adores Meghan and she's so excited about her coming to the Open."

But Serena is reportedly so superstitious that she wears the same dirty socks every day of a 2-week tennis tournament.

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Serena's coach (pictured in the player's box with Meghan on Saturday) said Meghan's presence at the Open would not be a distraction for Serena.

"There will be 22,000 people in the stadium, 23,000, actually. One more or less won't change a thing."

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Serena has not been herself since giving birth to daughter Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr., 2 years ago.

She reached four major finals since becoming a mother - Wimbledon twice and the US Open twice - but she lost all four times to much younger opponents.

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Mouratoglou practically guaranteed Serena would beat Andreescu. He said Serena is not the same woman who lost to 20-year-old tennis prodigy Naomi Osaka at last year's US Open.

"It's totally different situation now, because now she can move," said Mouratoglou of Serena.

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Mouratoglou blamed Serena's losses on motherhood. Daughter Alexis Jr. is pictured above with Serena's husband, Reddit.com co-founder Alexis Ohanian in January.

"The first problem she had was not an injury, but her body transformed to become a mother," he said. "You don't come back to your previous body, which is the body of a professional top athlete, overnight. So that was the first goal, to be completely in shape and able to perform at the highest level physically."

"She finally got rid of her knee problem, and she was able to run without thinking about her knee. So now it's several weeks in a row, so I think her fitness just went up and up, and I think her movement now is better than I have ever seen since she became a mother."

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Four years ago, then 15-year-old junior tennis player Bianca Andreescu wrote herself a $3.3 million check and declared herself the winner of the U.S. Open.

"I just kept visualizing this moment and I just never let up and kept fighting for my dreams."

On Saturday, Andreescu's dreams became reality as she defeated tennis superstar Serena Williams in straight sets 6-3, 7-5 to win the U.S. Open women's championship at Arthur Ashe Stadium in Flushing Meadows, NY.

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The giddy 19-year-old collected the winner's trophy and the top prize of $3.85 million.

Williams feared Andreescu would be an obstacle to tying Margaret Court's major singles titles record.

During a post-workout interview with ESPN a week ago, Williams pointed to Andreescu's name on the board and predicted the youngster would advance to the U.S. Open final.

On Saturday Andreescu quickly jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the opening game of the 1st set.

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After dropping the first set 3-6, Williams turned to her box, where bestie Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, sat with her coach, and wailed, "I can't get my serve in!"

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The NY crowd roared as Williams rallied from 1-5 down in the 2nd set to even the set at 5-all.

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With Williams serving at 5-6, Andreescu crushed a forehand winner into the corner to end Williams's quest for a record-tying 24th Grand Slam singles title.

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Andreescu is the first Canadian - man or woman - to win a Grand Slam title.

During the post-match interview with ESPN, the giggling teen recalled writing that imaginary US Open check to herself four years ago.

When asked if she wrote herself a check for "3 point whatever million," Andreescu laughed and said, "Well, back then it wasn't that much."

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Andreescu was ranked No. 208 just a year ago. She didn't even qualify to play in the U.S. Open last year.

But after sitting out 3 months with an injured shoulder, Andreescu returned to dominate the women's pro tour.

Andreescu got everyone's attention when she knocked off 8 of the world's top 10 women players on her way to a 8-0 record in just eight months.

Andreescu's impressive victories include a default win in the Rogers Cup championship in Toronto last month when Williams retired with a back injury while down 1-3 in the 1st set.
It was the first Rogers Cup title for a Canadian in 50 years.

Court was not in attendance to watch Williams make another run at her major singles record. The Australian will not be invited back to the US Open after comments she made about the homosexual community in 2017.

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Tennis legend Billie Jean King, who is openly lesbian, was fully supportive of Court's banishment and Williams making history.

"It'll be great if she won this and went on to Australia and broke [the record]. That's my prayer," said King before the final match in the tennis center that bears her name.

 

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Duchess Meghan Markle flew to New York City on a budget commercial airline to watch her bestie, Serena Williams try to win her 24th Grand Slam title in the U.S. Open women's final in Flushing, NY on Saturday.

Meghan was heavily criticized for flying on private jets with her husband Prince Harry after both have expressed environmental concerns in the past.

Williams will take on Canadian teenager Bianca Andreescu, who needed all the tools in her powerful arsenal to defeat Switzerland's Belinda Bencic 7-6 (7-3), 7-5 in Thursday's women's quarterfinals.

Bencic, 22, knocked off the defending U.S. Open women's singles champ Naomi Osaka earlier this week.

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Williams, who is nearing retirement at age 37, easily ousted No. 5-seeded Elina Svitolina of Ukraine in the 1st women's quarterfinals match on Thursday to advance to the final.

"To be in yet another final, it seems, honestly, crazy," said Williams, a six-time U.S. Open champion. "But I don't really expect too much less."

Andreescu makes her first ever appearance in the US Open finals. Thursday's win marked her 12th consecutive victory as she became the first Canadian woman to reach the US Open finals.

The 19-year-old is the odds on favorite going into the finals against Williams.

"I don't think anyone [is] surprised," said Bencic when asked if Andreescu's run to the final was unexpected. "Honestly, she won Indian Wells, Toronto. She beat so many great players. I definitely was not surprised. I don't think anyone should be."

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Meghan and Harry, pictured with American power couple Beyonce and Jay-Z in London, were branded as hypocrites for their costly habit of flying in private jets after claiming to be advocates for the environment and campaigning against climate change.

Meghan and Harry's reps argued that the couple's private jets leave a teeny weeny carbon footprint in the earth's atmosphere. And besides that, they only flew on private jets four times in the past 2 weeks.

The British press reports that Meghan silenced her critics by catching a "last minute flight" on a "commercial airliner" out of London to NYC, but they didn't identify the airline carrier.

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Defending U.S. Open champion Naomi Osaka of Japan consoled a crying Cori "Coco" Gauff of the United States after she defeated the teen phenom in the Women's Singles round 3 match at Arthur Ashe Stadium on Day 6 of the U.S. Open tennis tournament in Flushing, Queens, New York City on Sunday.

Osaka dropped just three games on her way to an easy 6-3, 6-0 win over the Florida teenager.

After embracing at the net Osaka consoled the sobbing 15-year-old near the umpire's chair. Osaka, 21, asked Gauff to remain on the court for the on court interview.

"She did amazing and I'm going to learn a lot from this match," Gauff said. "She's been so sweet to me, so thank you for this.

"Once again, thank you, Naomi. I don't want people to think that I'm trying to take this moment away from her. She really deserves it, so thank you."

Gauff became the youngest woman to win two matches at the U.S. Open since 1996.

Osaka also fought back tears as she reminisced about playing on the junior tennis tour.

"I don't want to cry," Osaka said. "I remember I used to see you guys training in the same place as us. For me, the fact that both of us made it, and we're both still working as hard as we can, I think it's incredible. I think you guys are amazing. I think Coco, you're amazing."

The showdown between Osaka and Gauff topped the tennis rankings on ESPN2.
 

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