Serena Williams to face Raducanu in Cincinnati opener

Serena Williams will face a hard first-round battle with reigning US Begin champion, Emma Raducanu, when the US tennis massive’s farewell tour continues at Cincinnati subsequent week.

Williams, a 23-time Large Slam champion, revealed this week that the “countdown has begun” to her retirement, with the 40-12 months-extinct anticipated to indicate farewell after a closing foremost marketing campaign on the US Begin beginning later this month.

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Williams obtained her first singles match in additional than a 12 months when she defeated Spain’s Nuria Parrizas Diaz inside the first spherical at Toronto closing week.

That was ahead of she revealed in an editorial in Vogue and on Instagram that she was “evolving away” from tennis.

In her first match after the announcement, Williams fell in straight devices to Switzerland’s Tokyo Olympic gold medallist, Belinda Bencic, inside the second spherical.

Williams faces one different exhausting route in Cincinnati, the construct she is a two-time champion.

The winner of Williams-Raducanu will face each Twentieth-ranked Victoria Azarenka or Thirty first-ranked Kaia Kanepi of Estonia.

Azarenka, 33, is a two-time Large Slam winner and dilapidated world #1 who ignored the Toronto match attributable to visa wretchedness.

Williams, who was 17 when she obtained the 1999 US Begin for her first foremost title, has by no means performed 19-12 months-extinct Briton Raducanu, who shot to stardom alongside along with her lag to the US Begin title closing 12 months as a qualifier.

Since then, Raducanu has struggled to salvage momentum, exiting early on the Australian Begin, French Begin and Wimbledon.

Speaking about Williams inside the wake of the American’s announcement of her retirement plans closing week, Raducanu mentioned Williams had “modified the sport.”

“To dominate that highly effective, there has now no longer actually been somebody who has dominated like her inside the women’s recreation.”

She furthermore marvelled at how lengthy Williams has remained an influence inside the sport from her first Large Slam title to her most latest on the 2017 Australian Begin, which was adopted by journeys to the US Begin and Wimbledon finals in 2018 and 2019.

“That longevity of a career is one thing that the massive majority of the avid gamers, me particularly, aspire to enact,” Raducanu mentioned.