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Serena Williams Upset by Emma Raducanu in Round 1 of Western & Southern Open

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVAugust 17, 2022

Serena Williams (Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Serena Williams suffered a straight-sets loss (6-4, 6-0) to reigning U.S. Open champion Emma Raducanu in the first round of the Western & Southern Open on Tuesday night.

"We all should honor Serena and her amazing career," Raducanu told reporters. "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."

Williams, who's expected to wrap up her legendary career at this year's U.S. Open beginning Aug. 29, didn't speak with the media following the loss.

The 23-time Grand Slam singles champion announced in Vogue earlier this month she would be "evolving away from tennis," noting she didn't like the word retirement.

Williams didn't formally state in the piece that the U.S. Open would mark the final event of her career, but the timing suggested that will be the case, and it would be fitting to wrap up her Hall of Fame run in the event where she won her first Grand Slam title in 1999.

"But I'm not looking for some ceremonial, final on-court moment," Williams said. "I'm terrible at goodbyes, the world's worst. But please know that I am more grateful for you than I can ever express in words. You have carried me to so many wins and so many trophies. I'm going to miss that version of me, that girl who played tennis. And I'm going to miss you."

Her 23 major titles in singles ranks second in women's tennis history behind only Margaret Court (24). She's also captured 16 Grand Slam doubles titles (14 women's and two mixed) and four Olympic gold medals (three doubles and one singles).

The loss to Raducanu dropped her singles record to 1-3 since her return from injury at the 2022 Wimbledon tournament.

It leaves an uncertain outlook heading into the U.S. Open. Her power game still gives her a distinct advantage over a majority of the WTA Tour players when healthy, but she's yet to showcase top form for an extended stretch in these past few months.

The lopsided result against Raducanu shows how much work there is to do in a limited amount of time if she wants to make a deep run in New York, but there's also plenty of motivation with the end of her career on the horizon and Court's record still within reach.

Regardless of how Williams' playing days come to an end, she'll go down as one of the greatest tennis players in history and perhaps the most dominant when at the peak of her powers.

That said, one more magical run in a Grand Slam would be a fitting way to walk away from the sport.

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