Jamaica’s Shericka Jackson won gold in 21.45 seconds, just 0.11 seconds off the world record of 34-year-old Florence Griffith-Joyner.
Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce sealed the silver medal as Asher-Smith made up for the heartbreak of finishing just outside the medals in fourth in the 100m to retain bronze.
Asher-Smith was just a fraction away from the personal best she set by winning the world title in Doha three years earlier and then dedicated her medal to her grandmother, who died just before her first race of the season and whose funeral took place the week before Eugene’s trial.
“She had been sick for a while and was such a foundation of my family,” she said. “I spent every day at her house when I was a child. For a long time, athletics was in the back of my mind. My brain has been everywhere. It has been a very difficult mental challenge to overcome this season.
Asher-Smith got off to a good start from lane three, but Jackson was ahead down the straight and cleared well past Fraser-Pryce and Asher-Smith. It was the Briton’s eighth medal in a major world championship.
“The caliber of this final was insane,” she said afterwards. “It was an incredibly talented race. I know I have been in the form of my life throughout the championship. Did I know where this would lead me? Obviously not because all these girls are incredibly fast.
“I had no idea what this was going to take me to, but I was hoping and praying it would take me to the podium. I knew I was going to do my best and I’m glad my best got me. earned a bronze medal in a race of such caliber.
“It’s been a big championship for me, three 10.8, 21.9, 22.0, I don’t think I’ve ever raced this succession of times in a big champion before. I’m just really happy with how it all went.
The four British athletes competing in the 800m booked their place in the semi-finals, with Tokyo Olympic medalist Keely Hodgkinson being the most impressive winning her race in 2:00.88 despite having her ankle cut just a few times in the race.
Jemma Reekie, who was ruled out of the medals in fourth place in Japan, also qualified for the semi-finals with Ellie Baker and Alex Bell.
Great Britain had high medal hopes in the men’s 800m, with Max Burgin setting the fastest time in the world this year. But after retiring from the heats with a calf injury, hope rested on the shoulders of Kyle Langford and Daniel Rowden.
Both had completed their heats but were unable to advance to the final, with Langford finishing third in the first semi-final and Rowden fourth in the following semi-final.