Talk about a market crash.
Ticket prices in the secondary market for the U.S. Open women's final on Saturday dropped by 83 percent after Serena Williams' bid for the Grand Slam ended with her loss against Roberta Vinci on Friday.
With high expectations for the first Grand Slam since 1988, the USTA said the women's final sold out before the men's, days ahead of the first match of the tournament.
The cheapest ticket prices on resale website Stubhub.com for the Saturday match reached $271 after Williams defeated her sister Venus in the quarterfinals on Tuesday.
Minutes after Vinci pulled off one of the biggest upsets in tennis history to set up an all-Italian final against Flavia Pennetta, tickets could be found on the same website for as little as $45. When the women's final was set to start around 3 p.m. Saturday, the least expensive ticket on Stubhub.com was $43.
Chris Leyden, a content analyst for online ticket aggregator SeatGeek, said the median price for tickets to the final on the secondary market had risen to more than $1,500 by Wednesday morning, the day after Williams defeated her sister Venus in the quarter-finals.
Those rates began to drop by the third set of the Williams-Vinci match, Leyden said, as buyers and brokers began to sense that a historic upset could be in the making that would spike the top-ranked player out of the final.
By the time Williams had walked dejectedly from the court, her shot at history dashed, ticket prices had plunged even more steeply and within hours had fallen below $500, he said.
The devastating loss meant that Williams, 33, lost her chance to make tennis history as the fourth woman to win all four majors in the same year, a so-called calendar-year Grand Slam. It also postponed until at least next year her pursuit of Steffi Graf's open-era record of 22 major titles.
"This is pretty much as dramatic as you're going to get, just because there had been so much building up and prices just kept rising and rising," Leyden said. "It really went from one extreme to another."