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Serena Williams trounced by Raducanu in Cincinnati opener – Sporting Life

Serena Williams busted out of the WTA/ATP Cincinnati Masters at the first hurdle on Tuesday, losing in straight sets to US Open champion Emma Raducanu as the end of her glittering career nears.

Williams, who hinted last week that she plans to retire after this month’s US Open, was no match for Britain teenager Raducanu, who clinched a 6-4, 6-0 win.

Williams, 40, quickly left the pitch after the loss without speaking to TV reporters and did not hold a press conference.

Raducanu broke Williams at the start of both sets to claim victory in her first and likely last meeting with the 23-time Grand Slam singles champion.

“I was nervous from the first point to the last,” said Raducanu. “Serena is dangerous and can come back from any situation.

“I had to stay focused. I’m so glad I managed to keep my composure.”

Williams, winner of the titles here in 2014 and 2015, was only playing her fourth game in 2022 after starting her season at Wimbledon through injury.

Raducanu announced her intentions from the start with a love break from Williams and didn’t back down.

The young Brit improved to 14 wins and 17 losses since winning the Open from a qualifying start last September.

Raducanu, meanwhile, said she was honored to be part of the spectacle on Tuesday in one of Williams’ final games as a professional.

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– ‘Honour Serena’ –

“We all have to honor Serena and her amazing career,” she said. “I’m so grateful for the experience of playing her and for the fact that our careers have crossed.

“Everything she has achieved is inspiring. It is a true honor to share the farm with her.”

Raducanu never let Williams into the match.

The young Londoner, seeded at No. 10, went 4-1 up in the first set and won the second outright by advancing with her first match point, a non-returnable serve.

Raducanu committed a single unforced error in the opening set compared to a dozen for Williams.

Williams’ older sister Venus suffered a 7-5, 6-1 loss earlier in the day, losing to 2016 champion Karolina Pliskova.

In the men’s draw of the joint event, Nick Kyrgios started the last major new edition of the US Open with a 7: 5, 6: 4 victory over Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.

The Aussie marched through with 29 winners – including 10 aces – and three breaks of the Spaniard’s serve to advance to the second round.

28th-ranked Kyrgios has won all 11 of his first-round games this season and won his 22nd game since returning to the ATP in June after skipping the clay season.

He now meets good friend Taylor Fritz after the American defeated Sebastian Baez 6-1, 6-1.

“Physically, I wasn’t feeling too well, but you have to keep pushing, keep trying,” said Kyrgios.

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“Alejandro is a damn good player, he has a lot of shots available. I had to serve well and dictate,” added the quarter-finalist from Montreal. “It was difficult conditions out there, the courts are much livelier than in Montreal, it was more difficult to control the ball.”

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It was a happy return to Cincinnati for Kyrgios, who was fined a record $113,000 during a spectacular meltdown at the tournament in 2019

“I played incredible tennis here and had some crazy breakouts,” he said. “It’s a question which Kyrgios shows up here.”

Elsewhere, third-seeded Carlos Alcaraz of Spain advanced in his tournament debut, defeating American Mackenzie McDonald 6-3, 6-2.

Tenth-placed Italian Jannik Sinner celebrated his 21st birthday with a 6-7 win over Thanasi Kokkinakis (911), 6-4, 7-6 (8th6).

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