MASON, Ohio (AP) — The second stop on Serena Williams’ farewell tour was short.
Williams, 40, fell to 0-2 in matches since declaring the “countdown has begun” on her career, falling 6-4 to U.S. Open champion Emma Raducano at the Western & Southern Open on Tuesday night. Lost 6-0.
Williams said in a Vogue article and an Instagram post last week that her career was winding down, though she did not specifically say when the U.S. Open, which starts Aug. 29 in New York. , will be their last tournament.
The Cincinnati event was Williams’ second US Open tune-up, and the next time she takes the court will be at Flushing Meadows. She lost in straight sets to Belinda Bencic in Toronto last week. A day before the announcement, Williams defeated Noria Perezas-Diaz to win her first match since the 2021 French Open.
Williams is a 23-time Grand Slam champion, most recently at the Australian Open in 2017, when she was pregnant with daughter Olympia. She said her desire to grow her family was a major reason she plans to separate.
Raducanu, No. 19 in the world, was quick as she dispatched Williams – and silenced the pro-Williams crowd in 1 hour, 5 minutes.
“I can’t believe I just played with Serena Williams,” Raducano, 19, said. “It’s something that I feel really fortunate to have been able to do, and for our careers to have such a big (age) gap and to watch him grow, to play with him. It was an amazing experience.”
Williams did not speak to reporters after the match.
The fans cheered when Williams was introduced, and again when he scored his first point on a Raducanu error in the second game. Williams screamed in frustration when she double-faulted and pumped her fist even louder when she won the third game of the first set.
“I just knew how important every single point was because you left a little bit, yeah, she’s going to get on top of you,” Reducano said. “She’s just such a legend.”
Down 2-0 in the first set, he fought back at 4-3 and then 5-4, but Raducanu ended the set at love. Raducanu rolled away, Williams looked frustrated and even resigned near the end.
Williams was sidelined for a year with a torn hamstring suffered at Wimbledon last year, and injuries late in her career have made her inconsistent on court.
The players fired up the crowd with a thrilling rally in the fifth game of the second set, Williams winning with a forehand volley. But he double-faulted on the next point en route to the break.
She quickly left the court after the match and waved to the crowd as she exited.
“I think the crowd was pretty electric,” Raducano said. “The stadium was really packed, and even if they were cheering for Serena… I was up for it.”
Radocano, who faces veteran Victoria Azarenka in Wednesday’s second round, has not won a title since her victory at the US Open last year.
In the men’s draw, top-ranked Daniil Medvedev of Russia advanced to the third round with a 6-4, 7-5 win over 24th-ranked Butik van de Zandslip.
Medvedev, who was banned from Wimbledon because of his country’s invasion of Ukraine, was scheduled to lose in the second round to Wimbledon finalist Nick Kyrgios in Canada last week.
Kyrgios defeated Alejandro Davidovic Fokina 7-5, 6-4 on Tuesday.
Also on Tuesday, four-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka was defeated by Shuai Zhang 6-4, 7-5.
The tournament lost another big name, Coco Goff, when she retired from her match against qualifier Mari Bozkova with a left ankle injury. Goff had her ankle taped after the first set and was out after the first game of the second set.
Karolina Pliskova won 7-5, 6-1 over Williams’ older sister Venus. Bencic beat Sorana Sarastia 6-2, 6-7 (3), 6-4.
Rafael Nadal, sidelined since withdrawing from Wimbledon with a tear in his stomach, practiced in front of a large crowd. The 22-time Grand Slam champion is scheduled to play Borna Cork on Wednesday.
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