After stunning Serena Williams in the opening round of the Cincinnati Open, British number one Emma Raducanu put a damper on the American legend’s farewell tour.
Williams, 40, lost 6-4, 6-0 in what was to be the farewell match of her career. Williams wants to retire after the US Open, which begins on August 29.
The 23-time Grand Slam winner lacked focus, and her 19-year-old rival punished her with a cool performance.
In the second round, Victoria Azarenka will face defending US Open winner Raducanu.
“I’m so grateful for the experience to have been able to play Serena and for our careers to have crossed over,” said world number 13 Raducanu, who played superbly with her defence of the Grand Slam title in New York looming.
“Everything she has achieved has been so inspirational and it was a true honour to share the court with her.”
Since Williams announced her imminent retirement last week—or, as she called it, there has been the avalanche of praise that befits a legend.
In the days that followed, the WTA players, including world number one Iga Swiatek and Raducanu, showed their appreciation for Williams by praising her accomplishments and her legacy.
Williams’ preparation for the game, which was initially scheduled to take place on Monday but was then rescheduled on Tuesday, had reportedly been impeded by an injury.
Whether or not Williams was troubled by a physical issue, she was unable to handle the pressure brought on by Raducanu’s serve and groundstrokes.
The six-time US Open champion must now try to gather herself after bidding a fond farewell to Cincinnati and prepare for what she will want to be a more appropriate farewell at Flushing Meadows.