Serena Williams fell in her opening round match of the Western & Southern Open at the hands of 19-year-old star Emma Raducanu on Tuesday. Raducanu came away with a 6-4, 6-0 win over Williams in the last tuneup before the US Open.
Following the match, Williams, who announced her retirement plans earlier in August, received a standing ovation from the Cincinnati crowd.
“We all should honor Serena and her amazing career,” Raducanu said after the match, according to ESPN. “I’m so grateful for the experience to have been able to play her and for our careers to have crossed over. Everything she’s achieved is so inspirational. It was a true honor to share the court with her.”
This marked the first career meeting between Williams and Raducanu. Williams ended up falling behind 4-1 in the first set before winning three of the next four games to stay competitive. However, Raducanu dominated the second set as she cruised to a 65-minute victory.
Williams was expected to speak in an on-court interview after the match. However, the 23-time Grand Slam champion declined the interview and packed her bags before leaving the court. Williams did smile and wave to the crowd upon her exit.
While Williams did announce that she would be retiring, she hasn’t indicated exactly when her final match will take place. Williams does plan to compete at the US Open, which begins on Aug. 29 in New York. The US Open is a Grand Slam that Williams has won on six occasions, most recently in 2014.
During her last US Open appearance in 2020, Williams reached the semifinals. She also reached the final of the Grand Slam tournament in 2018 and 2019.
“It’s the hardest thing that I could ever imagine,” Williams told Vogue while laying out her retirement plans earlier this month. “I don’t want it to be over, but at the same time I’m ready for what’s next.”
The 40-year-old tennis star has the second-most Grand Slam titles (23) to Margaret Court (24). Williams has been attempting to tie Court’s mark since winning the 2017 Australian Open.