Serena Williams falls to Emma Raducanu at Western & Southern Open

Serena Williams’ run at the Western & Southern Open was a short one.

The 40-year-old fell to No. 10 Emma Raducanu in straight sets in the first round on Tuesday, 6-4, 6-0 in Cincinnati.

Williams, who announced she would retire from tennis after the U.S. Open, showcased plenty of power, but struggled with returns and unforced errors against the 19-year-old Brit.

It was the second straight first-round loss for the 23-time Grand Slam champion, who lost to Belinda Belcic at the Toronto Open last week.

Raducanu, meanwhile, was nearly flawless, ending the match with a single unforced error.

“I think we all need to just honor Serena and her amazing career. I’m so grateful for the experience to be able to play her,” Raducanu said on the court post-match. “Everything she has achieved has been so inspirational. It was a true honor to share the court with her.”

Serena Williams, of the United States, hits a forehand to Emma Raducanu
Serena Willams fell in straight sets to Emma Raducanu on Tuesday.
AP Photo

The American, the record holder for Grand Slam wins in the Open Era, received plenty of encouragement from the crowd, and exited the court to a standing ovation after the 1 hour, 5 minute match.

“Even when you guys were cheering for her, I was like, all for it,” Raducanu said, noting she needed to maintain her focus in deference to Williams’ abilities. “I was nervous from the first point to the last point.”

Raducanu will play Victoria Azarenka — who defeated Venus Williams, 6-3, 4-6, 6-3, in the first round — while Williams will have two weeks to get her game sorted out before her Flushing Meadows farewell.

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