Serena Williams loses to Raducanu; US Open next

MASON, Ohio (AP) — The second stop on Serena Williams’ farewell tour was a short one.

Williams, 40, has dropped to 0-2 in matches since announcing “the countdown has begun” on her career, losing 6-4, 6-0 to US Open champion Emma Raducanu at the Western & Southern Open. On tuesday night.

Williams said last week in a Vogue magazine essay and an Instagram post that her career was coming to an end, though she did not say explicitly that the US Open, which begins Aug. 29 in New York, would be her last tournament.

The Cincinnati event was the second US Open tune-up for Williams, and the next time she takes the court it will be at Flushing Meadows. She lost to Belinda Bencic in straight sets last week in Toronto. A day before the announcement, Williams beat Nuria Parrizas-Diaz for her first win since the 2021 French Open.

Williams is a 23-time Grand Slam champion, most recently in 2017 at the Australian Open, when she was pregnant with her daughter Olympia. She said that wanting to expand her family was a big reason why she plans to move away from her.

Raducanu, who is ranked No. 19 in the world, was sharp as she dispatched Williams, and silenced the vocally pro-Williams crowd, in 1 hour and 5 minutes.

“I can’t believe I just played Serena Williams,” said Raducanu, 19. “It’s something that I think I’m very lucky to have been able to do, and that our careers have crossed when there is such a big difference (in age) and to see her grow up, it was an incredible experience to play her. ”

Williams did not speak to reporters after the game.

The fans cheered enthusiastically when Williams was introduced and again when he won his first point on a Raducanu error in game two. Williams screamed in frustration when he double faulted and screamed even louder and raised her fist as he won the third game of the first set.

“I knew how important each point was because you relax a little bit, yes, she will be on top of you,” Raducanu said. “She is simply a legend.”

Down 2-0 in the first set, he defended 4-3 and then 5-4, but Raducanu closed out the set loveless. Raducanu rolled from there, with Williams looking frustrated and even resigned near the end.

Williams was sidelined for a year with a torn hamstring suffered last year at Wimbledon, and his late-career injuries have contributed to inconsistency on the court.

The players thrilled the crowd with a thrilling exchange in the fifth game of the second set, won by Williams with a forehand volley. But he double-faulted at the next point on the way to the break.

She hurried off the court after the match, waving to the crowd as she left.

“I think the crowd was pretty electric,” Raducanu said. “The stadium was really packed, and even if they were cheering for Serena…I was prepared for it.”

Raducanu, who faces veteran Victoria Azarenka in Wednesday’s second round, has not won a title since her upset triumph at the US Open last year.

In the men’s draw, top-ranked Daniil Medvedev of Russia advanced to the third round, beating 24th-ranked Botic van de Zandschlup 6-4, 7-5.

Medvedev, banned by Wimbledon for his country’s invasion of Ukraine, was coming off a second-round loss to Wimbledon finalist Nick Kyrgios last week in Canada.

Kyrgios defeated Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 7-5, 6-4 on Tuesday.

Also on Tuesday, four-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka was eliminated by Shuai Zhang, 6-4, 7-5.

The tournament lost another big name, Coco Gauff, when she withdrew from her match against qualifier Marie Bouzkova with a left ankle injury. Gauff had his ankle taped after the first set and retired after the first game of the second set.

Karolina Pliskova advanced with a 7-5, 6-1 victory over Williams’ older sister, Venus. Bencic fell to Sorana Cirstea, 6-2, 6-7(3), 6-4.

Rafael Nadal, sidelined since withdrawing from Wimbledon with an abdominal tear, practiced before a huge crowd. The 22-time Grand Slam champion is scheduled to play Borna Corcic on Wednesday.

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