SERENA WILLIAMS lost the Women’s U.S. Open final to Naomi Osaka on Saturday . . . but the real story was Serena’s battle with chair umpire Carlos Ramos, who hit her with THREE violations.

It started when Ramos called a violation for illegal communication between Serena and her coach.  Serena denied cheating.  Her coach later admitted to hand signals, but also said that he didn’t believe Serena had even looked at him.  He added that everyone does it, and said Serena’s opponent’s coach was doing the same thing.

Then, Serena got a second violation for angrily throwing her racket at the ground and breaking it.  The second penalty meant Serena lost a point, and she was NOT happy about that.

She demanded an apology from Ramos, saying he stole a point from her, and that he was a, quote, “thief.”  She yelled, quote, “You will never, ever, ever be on another court of mine as long as you live.  You are the liar.”

Ramos then issued a third violation for “verbal abuse,” which meant Serena was docked a GAME.  After the match, Serena was fined $17,000 for the violations, but she’ll be fine.  She won $1.85 million for finishing in second place.

The issue is more about Serena not wanting to be seen as a cheater . . . and whether or not the umpire was being SEXIST for penalizing her.  Serena repeatedly said that she’d rather lose than cheat . . . and claimed she was being unfairly treated because male tennis players get away with much worse.

After the match, Serena hugged Naomi, who had just won her first Grand Slam.  Later, Naomi started crying at the trophy ceremony, because Serena’s fans were BOOING over how the umpire had treated her.

Serena told the crowd, quote, “I know you guys were here rooting . . . but let’s make this the best moment we can, and we’ll get through it.  Let’s give everyone the credit where credit’s due.  Let’s not boo anymore . . . let’s be positive . . . no more booing.”