ESPN announced Wednesday that Serena Williams' final U.S. Open match averaged 4.8 million viewers, making it the most-watched tennis match in the network's 43-year history. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo
Sept. 7 (UPI) -- Serena Williams' final match at the U.S. Open on Friday set ratings records for ESPN, the company announced Wednesday.
The third-round match between Williams and Australia's Ajla Tomljanovich, averaged 4.8 million viewers, making it ESPN's most-watched tennis match in the network's 43-year history.
It surpassed ESPN's previous record of 3.9 million viewers during the 2012 Wimbledon Men's Championship between Roger Federer and Andy Murray in ESPN's first year with exclusive coverage of the tournament.
Ratings for Williams versus Tomljanovich peaked at 6.9 million views during the final set of the nearly three-hour match in the 10:15 p.m. quarter-hour.
The match also was the most viewed telecast of the day for broadcast and cable networks in total viewers and all key male person demographicvs, ESPN said.
Williams' tournament run drew increased attention as the 23-time grand slam singles champion said she would "move on" from tennis following the U.S. Open.
She began the tournament by defeating Danka Kovinic of Montenegro in straight sets, before toppling the No. 2 seed, Anett Kontaveit of Estonia, 2 sets to 1.
Her run would ultimately end in the match against Tomljanovich who won 7-5, 6-7, 6-1 on Friday night.
Williams also teamed up with her sister, Venus, for their first major doubles match together since 2018, but they were eliminated in the first round, falling to Lucie Hradecka and Linda Noskova of Czechia.
All of Williams' matches were met with fanfare as videos highlighting her achievements played before she took the court and celebrities packed the stands.
When asked if she would reconsider her plans to move on from tennis following the match with Tomljanovich Williams left the door open for a return.
"I don't think so, but you never know," she said.
Serena Williams fights back tears as she gives an interview before walking off of the court for possibly the last time ever after losing to Ajla Tomljanovic of Australia at the 2022 U.S. Open Tennis Championships at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Forest Hills, N.Y.,on September 2, 2022. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo