The damning reality of Serena Williams' failed record quest

Serena Williams is on the cusp of tennis immortality.

For the fourth time now though, the American champion has come up short after Canadian teenager Bianca Andreescu beat Williams 6-3 7-5 in the US Open final to claim her maiden grand slam title.

When the American won her 23rd grand slam singles title at the 2017 Australian Open, few would have entertained any doubts that she'd eventually win a 24th and equal Margaret Court's long-standing record.

The Aussie tennis great's milestone appears to be something weighing heavily on Williams' shoulders, no matter how much she may deny it.

The fact that the 37-year-old has now made it to four grand slam finals and come up short all four times speaks volumes.

However, what is more extraordinary - considering an almost unrivalled record in the big matches - is the way Williams has lost on each occasion.

For the fourth time, Serena Williams missed the chance to equal Margaret Court's majors record.
Serena Williams remains one title short of Margaret Court's majors record. Pic: Getty

Following her straight sets defeat to Andreescu, the American great has now failed to win a set in each of her four failed bids to match Court's record.

She has now lost more grand slam finals over the last three years than she did over a 17-year period prior to 2016.

The stunning fact has not been lost on fans, with many predicting that her chance has effectively come and gone - with age and a talented generation of young stars making the task that much more difficult.

Williams thanked her team for their support through her "downs and downs and downs" after her loss to Andreescu.

Williams turned in a nervy showing at Arthur Ashe Stadium, only briefly threatening to rally past her 19-year-old opponent late in the second set of her defeat.

The match came 20 years on from Williams' first US Open victory and, asked about her incredible longevity after another painful defeat, she was hopeful there is still time in her career to return to winning ways in slam finals.

"I just feel really honored to be out here. I'm just so proud I'm still out here competing at this level," she said at the post-match presentation. "It's not easy to be in this particular sport for 20 years.

"I have to give all thanks to Jehovah God for allowing me to have this moment to even be here.

"My team has been so supportive through all the ups and downs and downs and downs and downs and downs and downs...Hopefully we'll have some ups soon."

Williams has previously described herself as a fan of Andreescu and acknowledged that, with the exception of sister Venus, there is nobody she would rather lose to.

"Bianca played an unbelievable match. Congratulations," she said. "So proud and happy for you.

"It was incredible tennis out there. I wish I could have played better, but if anyone could win this tournament — outside of Venus — I'm happy it's Bianca."

Serena Williams watches as Bianca Andreescu is crowned US Open champion.
Serena Williams again had to settle for the runner-up silverware. Pic: Getty

Williams' only flicker of an opening in the match — a 23-minute stretch between Andreescu's first and second championship points — saw the crowd get involved, backing the American star.

She added: "I was just fighting at that point, trying to stay out there a little bit longer.

"Honestly, the fans started cheering so hard, it just made me play a little better and find a little bit more. I was really grateful for that."

With agencies