Serena Williams falls to Emma Raducanu in first round of Western & Southern Open

·2 min read

MASON, Ohio − Twenty-three-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams took the court Tuesday night at her 10th Western & Southern Open against Emma Raducanu.

They faced off for what would be one of Williams' last matches of her tennis career, with her retirement set sometime after the U.S. Open, which scheduled for Aug. 29-Sept. 11.

Raducanu defeated Williams in straight sets, just under an hour and a half of play, in front of a sold-out crowd on Center Court. This is the first time in 10 Western & Southern appearances that Williams has lost in her first main draw match. Williams is a two-time winner of the Western & Southern Open.

Serena Williams hits a forehand to Emma Raducanu during the Western & Southern Open.
Serena Williams hits a forehand to Emma Raducanu during the Western & Southern Open.

"It feels pretty amazing, to be honest. I can't believe I just played Serena Williams," Raducanu said in a news conference after her win. "I think I'm really fortunate to have been able to do it and for our paths to have crossed when there's such a big gap (in our careers)."

Raducanu started off the night strong, finding a solid and early 4-1 lead during the first set. Williams was warmed up at that point and closed the gap, 5-4, but Raducanu triumphed and took the set, 6-4. She came into the second set just as strong, hopping 4-0 in no time, and closing it off 6-0 with the roar of the crowd.

"I think a big part of the match today was definitely the mental side, to not be intimidated by all her achievements, and that is what I was focusing the most on, just being really, really present and thinking of my game and what I needed to do," Raducanu said. "Physically, I think I held out pretty well. There were some longer exchanges and I held up well in them. I scraped, I made her work, and sometimes I won the point when it mattered, or she did. I feel good right now."

Williams did not talk to reporters after the match.

Raducanu will advance to play Victoria Azarenka in the Round of 32.

This article originally appeared on Cincinnati Enquirer: Serena Williams Cincinnati: Star loses in first round to Emma Raducanu