Serena Williams was hailed as ‘the greatest of all time’ by Emma Raducanu, while Briton says it was ‘a gift’ and ‘an honor’ to play her before retiring after the US Open champion beat the retreating great 6-4, 6-0 at the Cincinnati Masters
- Emma Raducanu was brutal at her best against Serena Williams on Tuesday night
- The 19-year-old defeated Williams 6-4, 6-0 after just an hour and five minutes
- But the US Open champion paid a glowing tribute to Williams after the game
It was a ruthless display on the field, but off it a humble Emma Raducanu paid tribute to “the greatest of all time” Serena Williams after blowing her away at the Cincinnati Masters.
Raducanu took an hour and five minutes to beat Williams on Tuesday night in Ohio, the first time the two have met. Raducanu hit 14 winners and made only one unforced error when she defeated Williams 6-4, 6-0.
“I didn’t actually know that stat,” Raducanu said afterwards. “I think I played a really good game, but to play Serena here I was nervous from the first to the last point.
Emma Raducanu paid tribute to Serena Williams after beating her Tuesday night
A brilliant Raducanu beat Williams 6-4, 6-0 in an hour and five minutes in Cincinnati
40-year-old Williams received a huge round of applause as she left the field
“Maybe it didn’t look like it, but when you’re playing a champion like her, you never know when she’ll blow you off the field and start fighting.
“You let go a little and she’s right back in. I was leading 4-1 in the first set and then I was broken and the crowd got involved, but it was just great to share a job with such a legend.”
Raducanu’s win boosts her confidence at a key moment as she is less than two weeks away from her US Open defense. The 19-year-old admitted there were similarities between winning her first Major and beating Williams.
“I think in a way it was about the same, you’re very nervous,” she told the Tennis Channel. “But I think the most important thing is to just keep calm and serve the first set and serve the game, you have to have some steel.
“I did draw some parallels serving the US Open and I had a really tough last serve game with a bit of drama and a timeout, but of course it was extremely difficult to play against her.”
Raducanu then reflected on the impact Williams has had on her, as well as the wide game.
“I think the way she’s dominated the tennis game, the way she’s held herself over the years, I think anyone can draw inspiration from her — myself included,” Raducanu said.
“I can remember my first memory of seeing her play live at Wimbledon, a day out with my first coach – we just looked at her and she was so dominant. Just look at her, she probably has the best service ever and the best player of all time. I just shared the court with her, I was very happy. It was such an honor.
Raducanu, 19, described the outgoing Williams as ‘the greatest player of all time’
Williams struggled to produce her best tennis against Raducanu and then didn’t speak
Raducanu said she will remember playing against Williams for the rest of her career
“Tonight was, in my eyes, a game to play the best of all time – who knows how many more chances we’ll have to share the field.
“I think it’s amazing how our careers overlap and I thought to myself, ‘This is a complete gift, you’re sharing the field with the best of all time. Make the most of it, in the rest of your career ‘I will remember playing Serena Williams.”.
The next step for Raducanu is a match-up against another former world number 1 player, Belarusian Victoria Azarenka. For Williams it is now the US Open and most likely her last tournament as a professional.
She didn’t stop to address the crowd after the game, but waved her goodbyes when she received a lavish round of applause from the crowd.