Serena Williams CRASHES OUT of Cincinnati Masters after Raducanu loss

Serena Williams CRASHES OUT of Cincinnati Masters after 6-4, 6-0 loss by Brit Emma Raducanu, leaving retiring 23-time Grand Slam champion needing a miracle ahead of her US Open swansong

  • Serena Williams was beaten in an hour and five minutes by Emma Raducanu
  • The US Open holder produced a merciless display to beat Williams in Cincinnati 
  • There was no tearful on-court interview from Williams this time after her loss
  • But Raducanu paid tribute and said it was an honor to have played against her 

Serena Williams knew that defeat was a possibility against Emma Raducanu at the Cincinnati Open. But she would never have anticipated it to be as brutal as this.

The 19-year-old US Open champion swept the retiring Williams aside in an hour and five minutes, winning 6-4 6-0 in a merciless and composed display. It was one of the best performances Raducanu has given since winning the US Open last year.

There were no words of goodbye or tears on the court in the aftermath from Williams, unlike in Toronto last week when she lost to Belinda Bencic. 

She promptly gathered her things and walked off court with a wave to the crowd that were still cheering her on as if she had won, refusing an on court interview.

Williams struggled to find her rhythm – her backhand often let her down and handed easy points to Raducanu. Her serving wasn’t great either and she roared in fury on one occasion in the first set when another double-fault gave Raducanu a break point.

But there were still flashes of her greatness, the fighting spirit and that sheer, brutal forehand power that has propelled her to 23 fantastic Grand Slam wins. 

It was a quick goodbye from Serena Williams in Cincinnati after Emma Raducanu beat her

Raducanu applauded her opponent off after a commanding victory in Cincinnati 

The 40-year-old made a quick departure from the court after a ruthless Raducanu defeated her

Raducanu produced one of her best displays of the year to defeat Williams 6-4, 6-0 

The crowd were right behind Williams but they could not cheer her to victory on Tuesday

Raducanu paid tribute to Williams after the match and said it was an honor to play her

At 4-1 down in the first set and 40-15 behind, Williams dominated the next few points on her forehand alone and simultaneously whipped the crowd into a frenzy as she took the game.

But it was here that Raducanu responded so well. Her shot selection was clever, her own forehand was good too and she responded to being broken – and Williams then holding with some powerful serving – by holding to love. 

Raducanu never allowed Williams, or the crowd, to build momentum throughout the match. She hit 14 winners with just one unforced error.

‘I didn’t actually know that stat. I think we all need to honor Serena and her amazing career,’ Raducanu said afterwards. ‘I am so grateful for the experience to have played her and for our careers to have crossed over. It was an honor to share the court with her.

‘The atmosphere tonight was amazing. Even when you guys (the crowd) were cheering for her, I was all for it! 

‘I was nervous form the first point to the last point, she can come back from anything and I was pleased I was able to keep my composure.’  

But if Raducanu actually felt nervous, nobody could tell. This was a laser-focused performance from the 19-year-old who looked in the zone from the moment she crossed paths with Williams in the hallway outside the locker rooms.

Williams particularly seemed to struggle with her backhand and her serving on Tuesday

The best shots from Williams came on her forehand – she still showed flashes of her greatness

The tennis fans in Cincinnati were out in force to cheer Williams on against Raducanu

But the 19-year-old was in magnificent form as he gears up for her US Open defense 

Raducanu paid tribute to Williams after the match and said it was an honor to play her

For the UK-based tennis fans, think of this as Wimbledon in reverse. The crowd was absolutely united behind Serena, like Raducanu said – with every point she won cheered for as if it had won her a game or a set.

‘Serena the GOAT’ and ‘Long live the Queen’ read the signs that were waved aloft when Williams was announced and walked onto court. 

Maybe that suited Raducanu. There haven’t been many times since she won the US Open where she hasn’t been center of attention but here, against Williams, she was just that. It’s a confidence boosting victory for her as she gears up to defend her title.

So it’s one last dance for Williams, at the US Open, although fans do hang onto the fact she hasn’t explicitly said Flushing Meadows will be her final tournament. Williams is 0-2 since announcing that she will retire.

Host commentator

An emphatic win for Raducanu… and Williams now turns attention to Flushing Meadows.

She waves goodbye, is cheered off… but no words on the court to say goodbye, unlike last week in Toronto.

The duo exchange points on the forehand for 15-15, Williams’ winner getting a nice cheer from a crowd sensing that time might be up soon. A super looping forehand from Raducanu gives her two match points… and she just needs one!

Raducanu comes in and has a go at the second serve from Williams and eventually, another backhand from the American drifts out for 15-15. An amusing rally ensues at 30-30, a neat exchange of volleys before Williams pushes Raducanu back down the court and wins the point.

But at 40-30, she again double faults for deuce. Raducanu wins the next point and then takes the game with a stunning backhand return. 5-0 – a game away from vcitory.

Williams wins the first point off Raducanu’s serve with a cute forehand but Raducanu gets the next when she forces Serena wide and to hit her effort into the net.

Another return goes into the net for 40-15 and the next return loops out. 4-0 Raducanu now.

Raducanu brushing through the gears here, taking the first point off the serve. Williams has hit 15 unforced errors so far tonight, Raducanu just one. Another double fault gives Raducanu three break points, but Williams responds with an ace and then a smash for 30-40.

But Raducanu doesn’t blow the third, controlling the point off her forehand to move 3-0 up. This is a really impressive set from her so far.

A good hold for Raducanu, who is serving nicely and hit an ace for 40-15.

Serena serves to get the second set underway but Raducanu wins the first point. Williams wins the next but another loose shot creeping in and a forehand goes long for 30-15. Again, she wins the next point.

Raducanu then gets a break point and in what is sadly becoming a little bit too noticeable, Williams’ backhand is at fault as she overhits her effort and it goes long.

mood: @naomiosaka 🙌#CincyTennis

So here’s Raducanu, serving for the set. And she beings perfectly, with an ace. It is followed with another great serve and a forehand winner. 30-0. 

She then sends a fast forehand that catches a piece of the line and Serena can only respond by looping the ball out of play. Three more set points. And she takes it first time! First set Raducanu, 6-4!

Serena needs to hold serve to stay in the first set and she begins with a brutal forehand at the net for 15-0. But Raducanu responds by reading a drop shot and beating Williams to it. It wasn’t the best hit drop shot that you will ever see.

At 30-30, Williams swats a forehand out and Raducanu has a set point. Williams denies her, setting a mark with a solid first serve and following it up with a forehand winner.

A brilliant serve sees Raducanu get racket on ball but not much more and it’s advantage Williams. A wonderful backhand volley at the net sees her hold! Williams digging deep – this is pulsating viewing! 

Serena’s going hard but Raducanu looks like she’s enjoying this. She forces Serena back and comes in to the net, Serena then sending her shot into the net. She then wrongfoots Williams on an aggressive return and swipes a forehand across the court for 40-0.

Williams then returns into the net. A good hold for Raducanu, an important one.

This is where Serena has to back it up. And she can’t at first. She loses the first two points but then fights back with another booming serve. 15-30.

And then no problem with the Serena backhand here – Raducanu’s return of serve loops up into the sky, Serena hones in on the net and crashes a backhand winner across the court.

A 116mph serve then takes Serena to 40-30. And she takes the game with a smoldering ace! No shouts or roars from her this time, she walks back to her chair with a cold look in her eyes.

Williams roars in delight this time as a powerful forehand down the line goes unanswered. But Raducanu, as she has done enough times already tonight, responds excellently with a drop shot in the next rally and Williams scrambles to get the ball, and can only hit the net.

Ah, that backhand again letting Serena down. The court at her mercy, she goes with too much power and her shot goes beyond the line. But then she wins the next two points, getting to deuce with a searing forehand that gets the biggest cheer of the night! A brilliant shot!

And again! The backhand is out but the forehand is looking hot! Her first break point. And she takes it! Her forehand forcing Raducanu wide, she can only return into the net! She’s pumped up now! 

A roar of fury from Williams as she double faults for the second time this match to hand Raducanu a 30-15 advantage. And then a tremendous backhand from Raducanu gives her two break points at 40-15! Williams had no answer! 

Williams responds brilliantly – her first ace. But then she dumps a forehand out! Raducanu breaks again!

A splendid drop shot from Serena to get to 15-15 is her best shot of the match so far and the cheers go up a level in Cincinnati. Raducanu responds with a brilliant sliding serve that Williams has no response to and her return on the next serve is out.

Raducanu holds and in style – a good response to Serena’s drop shot igniting the crowd.

Better on the serve from Serena, orchestrating the points a bit more and her footwork looks a little more fluid as she pulls Raducanu from one side of the court to the other.

She holds the game and is off the mark to rapturous applause.

The first Williams point comes as a Raducanu forehand hits the net and it is greeted with big cheers from the crowd. 15-15 on the Raducanu serve.

A forehand winner from Raducanu is followed up by a looping forehand return from Williams that floats out. Another errant backhand from Williams, this time overhit, hands Raducanu the game.

The Williams backhand a bit loose here as she dumps the next shot outside of the line. And then she double-faults, three break points Raducanu! And she takes the first one! Another Williams backhand into the net.

First point to Raducanu as a Williams backhand finds the net. We are up and running!

An amusing moment in the coin toss to choose who serves. Serena makes her call for the side of the coin that has a trophy on it but as the umpire turns to toss it, Williams walks away, back over to her seat and places her sweater on it.

She wins, but doesn’t realize until she walks back over to the umpires and Raducanu in the middle of the court, by the net. ‘Trophy?’ she asks, gently swinging her racket through the air. ‘Serve,’ she says with a smile.

She looks really relaxed.

An amusing sign is waved aloft by an excited fan as Serena walks out on the court. The atmosphere is bubbling nicely – they’re all here for Serena but it was a warm response that Raducanu got as well. 

She’s by herself in the hallways, tying her shoelaces, while Serena is just a few steps behind her with her entourage.

Raducanu barely looked at Williams as she got back up, she seems to be very much focused and in the zone. The Brit walks out first and leads them onto the court – it’s a huge reception for Williams.

Serena is in the walkway outside the locker room, keeping herself warm and active with a skipping rope as he waits for the nod to head out on court. Not long at all now – no sign of Raducanu just yet.

There’s not many things Williams can tick off for the first time in her career as she approaches its end but facing Raducanu is one of them.

And what makes this such a fascinating match is that for all the narrative around it, both players really need a win. Williams needs time on the court to find as much form as she can before the US Open and for Raducanu, who heads to Flushing Meadows as defending champion, it’s much the same thing.

For the Brit, beating Serena in front of a crowd that is almost 100 per cent behind her, it’d be a huge confidence boost.


Today’s match has already been rescheduled once – it was announced late Sunday that Williams would face Raducanu on Tuesday night instead of Monday due to scheduling issues. It left some fans, who had tickets to the Monday evening session, unhappy at missing out on the tie of the round.

But we should – I stress, should – be ok to start on time at the top of the hour. A passing shower, thankfully, and courts are being dried up so that they become less slippery.

Some endearing words from Raducanu in the build-up, paying tribute to Williams

Which was November 13, 2002, Serena Williams had won four major titles and was ranked No 1 in the world. She has been playing professional tennis for longer than her opponent has been alive!

Catch her while you can, that’s the long and the short of it with Serena right now. A golden era in tennis comes to an end in the next few weeks as Williams, 40, brings the curtain down on her career. 

Tonight’s match could be a changing of the guard, of sorts. Raducanu has a long way to go before she is mentioned in the same bracket as Williams but the Brit has, of course, shown just how good her game is by winning last year’s US Open. It will be fascinating to see how she fares later.

What a magnificent match we have ahead of us here – the one we’ve all been waiting for since the draw came out. The 23 time grand slam winner against the one time grand slam winner. It’s Serena Williams, in the final throes of her stunning career, against the US Open champion and 19-year-old from Britain, Emma Raducanu.

It gets underway in just under an hour – 7pm eastern time.

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