Serena Williams hailed ‘the greatest of all time’ by Emma Raducanu as Brit says it was ‘a gift’ and ‘honor’ to play her before she quits after the US Open champion thrashes the retiring great 6-4, 6-0 at the Cincinnati Masters
- Emma Raducanu was at her ruthless best against Serena Williams Tuesday night
- The 19-year-old beat Williams 6-4, 6-0 after just an hour and five minutes
- But the US Open champion paid Williams a glowing tribute after the match
It was a merciless display on the court but away from it, a humble Emma Raducanu paid tribute to ‘the greatest of all time’ Serena Williams after blowing her away at the Cincinnati Masters.
Raducanu needed 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 just one unforced error as she beat Williams 6-4, 6-0.
‘I didn’t actually know that stat,’ Raducanu said afterwards. ‘I think I played a really good match but to play Serena here, I was nervous form the first point to the last.
Emma Raducanu paid tribute to Serena Williams after beating her on Tuesday night
A brilliant Raducanu defeated Williams 6-4, 6-0 in an hour and five minutes in Cincinnati
The 40-year-old Williams received a huge applause as she made her way off the court
‘Maybe it didn’t look like that but when you’re playing such a champion like her, you never know when she’s going to just blow you off the court and fight.
‘You let off a little bit and she is right back in, I was 4-1 up in the first set and then I got broken and the crowd got involved but it was just amazing to share a court with such a legend.’
Raducanu’s victory boosts her confidence at a significant time, given she is less than two weeks out from her US Open defense. The 19-year-old admitted there were similarities between winning her first Major and defeating Williams.
‘I think it was pretty similar in a way, you’re very nervous,’ she told the Tennis Channel. ‘But just staying composed I think is the biggest thing and serving out the first set and serving out the match, you have to have some steel.
‘I did draw some parallels to serving out the US Open and I had a really tough final service game with a little bit of drama and a time out – but it was of course extremely difficult to play her.’
Raducanu then reflected on the impact Williams has had on her, as well as the wide game.
‘I think the way she has dominated the game of tennis, the way she has held herself over the many years, I think anyone can draw inspiration for her – myself included,’ Raducanu said.
‘I can remember my first memory of watching her play live at Wimbledon, a day out with my first coach – we were just watching her and she was so dominant. Just watching her, she probably has the best serve ever and the greatest player of all time. Just sharing the court with her, I was really pleased. It was such an honor.
Raducanu, 19, described the retiring Williams as ‘the greatest player of all time’
Williams struggled to produce her best tennis against Raducanu and did not speak after
Raducanu said she’ll remember playing against Williams for the rest of her career
‘Tonight was a match in my eyes, to be able to play the greatest of all time – who knows how many more opportunities we will get to share the court.
‘I think it’s amazing how our careers have overlapped and I was thinking to myself “this is a complete gift, you are sharing the court with the best of all time. Make the most out of it, in the rest of your career you’re going to remember playing Serena Williams.”‘.
Next up for Raducanu is a matchup against another former world No 1 player, Belarus’ Victoria Azarenka. For Williams, it’s now the US Open and most likely her final tournament as a professional.
She didn’t stop to speak to the crowd after the match but waved goodbye as she received a rapturous round of applause from the crowd.