Emma Raducanu called Serena Williams an "inspirational player" and added it was an honor for her to play against the 23-time Grand Slam champion. On Tuesday night in Cincinnati, Raducanu saw off Williams 6-4 6-0 in their first-ever meeting.
Raducanu, 19, is playing her first full season on the WTA Tour, while 40-year-old Williams is retiring after this year's US Open. “I’m so grateful for the experience to be able to play her and for our careers to have crossed over, and everything she has achieved is so inspirational and it was a true honour to share the court with her,” Raducanu said, per Sportskeeda.
Raducanu: I knew Williams could come back
Raducanu got off to a fast start to the match, claiming two early breaks to open a 4-1 lead. But Williams refused to quit and got one break back in the sixth game. In the ninth game, Raducanu missed out on a set point on Williams' serve, but managed to serve out for the opener in the 10th game.
Raducanu then absolutely dominated the second set as she broke Williams three times to close out the match in three sets. “To be honest I was nervous from the first point to the last point because I know what a champion she is, she can come back from any situation and I’m just so pleased I could keep my composure,” Raducanu added.
The Cincinnati crowd was on Williams' side, but Raducanu had no problems with that. “I mean the atmosphere tonight was amazing and to play with Serena, I mean for sure even when you guys were cheering for her I was all for it.
Well, I think we all need to just honour Serena and her amazing career," Raducanu concluded. Cincinnati tennis fans had a chance to see two US Open champions go up against each other. Williams captured her first Grand Slam title at the 1999 US Open, while Raducanu went all the way at Flushing Meadows last year.