Emma Raducanu beat tennis icon, Serena Williams in their first-round meeting at the
Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati.
Teenager Raducanu, who has not won a tournament since capturing last year’s title at
Flushing Meadows as a 150th-ranked qualifier put in a dominant display against
Williams, wrapping up a 6-4 6-0 win in just over an hour.
American Williams announced her forthcoming retirement last week, saying that she
was “evolving away from tennis”, before suffering an early exit at the Canadian Open,
while Raducanu described being drawn against Williams as a “gift”.
“The chances to play her may be one of the last opportunities I get to play her,”
Raducanu said. “You have to cherish the moment, and you’re going to have this
memory for the rest of your career.”
While Raducanu said the opposition was always of a high standard at this level,
beating Williams required something special.
“Playing Serena and managing to win, I’m obviously really proud of myself, and it
does give me confidence [ahead of the US Open],” she told reporters.
“Each of those wins kind of build confidence regardless of the level you’re playing,
every single win counts. But of course this one more so, because you’re playing like
the greatest. But I’m not trying to get too high or too low right now.”
Raducanu next faces another Grand Slam winner in the shape of Belarusian Victoria
Azarenka, and the 19-year-old Briton said that it was another opportunity for her to
learn from “a great champion”.
“I remember more recently when she was playing in the US Open and made the final
in 2020. I was studying for my exams,” she added. “I hadn’t played tennis in months,
and I was just dreaming that one day I’m going to play on Ashe, and one day I’m
going to be at that level and playing these great players myself. Everything felt so far
“Obviously with the last year I have had, getting great exposure to these great
players, and every time you get to play them, you get to learn from them as well and
what they do really well that has helped them in their careers.”