Serena Williams could not contain her emotions and was brought to tears as she faced members of the press after her semi-final loss against Naomi Osaka at the Australian Open.

Williams has failed once again to secure a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam title. The long standing record held by Margaret Court has been within her sights for several years, but she has somehow failed to reach the finish line despite coming very close on several occasions. Williams had reached four Grand Slam finals since returning from her maternity leave in 2018, but failed to win all of them.

She was making another strong attempt in Melbourne this year, until she hit the wall called Naomi Osaka in the semi-finals. The Japanese star won in straight sets 6-3 6-4 despite serving multiple double faults throughout the match. Incidentally, it was also Osaka who defeated Williams in the controversial US Open final 2018, where Osaka was brought to tears by the crowd's reaction and Serena's on-court antics.

This time, Serena was the picture of grace in defeat. There was no screaming and no arguments with umpire. Instead, she waved a lengthy goodbye to the crowd that had once again been allowed to enter Rod Laver Arena following a five-day lockdown.

In the news conference, Williams was unable to answer questions about her errors during the match as she became visible emotional and tearful.

Shortly after, she took to Instagram to thank her fans. "Today was not ideal outcome or performance but it happens... I am so honored to be able to play in front of you all. Your support -your cheers, I only wish I could have done better for you today. I am forever in debt and grateful to each and everyone single one of you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I adore you," she wrote.

Osaka will now be facing American Jennifer Brady in the final match on Saturday.

Naomi Osaka, Serena Williams
Naomi Osaka beat Serena Williams to make the Australian Open final AFP / William WEST