American Serena Williams was swept in the first round of the WTA tournament in Cincinnati on Tuesday by Britain’s Emma Raducanu 6-4, 6-0.
Williams, who at 40 announced her retirement after the US Open at the end of the month, quickly left the court after her crushing defeat, without a word to television reporters.
“I was nervous from the first to the last point… Serena is dangerous and can come back from any situation,” said Emma Raducanu, after her victory over the American with 23 Grand Slam titles.
“We all have to pay tribute to Serena and her incredible career,” she added, saying she was “grateful” to have been able to face the ex-world number one. “Everything she has accomplished is a source of inspiration,” said the young Briton.
Serena Williams has played little in 2022, playing just four games, due to injury.
His last singles victory on the WTA circuit dates back to June 4, 2021, in a victorious 3rd round at Roland-Garros, a few weeks before withdrawing from the first round of Wimbledon due to a leg injury.
She was then absent for almost a year, only making her return to singles at the end of June at Wimbledon, where she was beaten by Frenchwoman Harmony Tan.
Seven times crowned in singles on the London lawn and ex-no 1 undisputed world, Serena Williams has now fallen to 407th place in the world.
Her last Grand Slam title dates back more than five years, at the 2017 Australian Open. Since then, she has been running in vain behind a 24th title that would allow her to equal Margaret Court’s record.
Raducanu, 19, had revealed herself last year on the London lawn of Wimbledon, by reaching the round of 16, when she was in 338th place in the world before the tournament and that she had never before won every game on the circuit.
She then created a huge surprise by winning the US Open.
Once again, Osaka does not pass the 1st round
Former world number one Naomi Osaka was eliminated in the first round, 6-4, 7-5, by China’s Zhang Shuai.
It is the second time in a row that Osaka, which has won four Grand Slams, has failed to make it past the first round.
She had given up in her opening match last week at the Toronto tournament due to back pain and remains uncertain, thirteen days before the US Open which will open on August 29.
The Japanese made a lot of mistakes and only lasted 1h15 against the 44th player in the world Zhang, 33 years old.
Osaka, 24, has won only once on hard court this season. It was for her entry into the running at Stanford at the beginning of the month against another Chinese, Zheng Qinwen (41st).
Currently 39th in the WTA rankings, the former world number one had reached the final of the Cincinnati Masters in 2020. She is far from her level this year and her form seems to be declining over the season.
After six confrontations, Osaka and Zheng are now tied, with three wins each.
“It’s always difficult to play against a good friend, said Zhang Shuai, Naomi is amazing but today was not her best day”.
Injured in the left ankle, Coco Gauff had to withdraw from her match against Marie Bouzkova.
Gauff had escaped the first set 7-5 and had lost the first game of the second set, when retired.
Venus still hasn’t won in 2022
Karolina Pliskova won 7-5, 6-1 ahead of Serena’s older sister Venus.
Belinda Bencic, who fell for Serena Williams in Toronto last week, was defeated by Sorana Cirstea, 6-2, 6-7 (3), 6-4.
Other results women (1st round) :
Marta Kostyuk (UKR) beats Camila Giorgi (ITA) 6-4, 5-7, 6-4
Elise Mertens (BEL) defeats Anhelina Kalinina (UKR) 6-1, 6-1
Anna Kalinskaya (RUS) defeats Martina Trevisan (ITA) 7-6 (7/2), 7-5
Shelby Rogers (USA) defeats Sofia Kenin (USA) 6-2, 6-1
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