Serena Williams Loses to Emma Raducanu in Last Match Before U.S. Open: 'We All Need to Just Honor Serena'

"I think we all need to just honor Serena and her amazing career," Emma Raducanu, 19, said after the match

Serena Williams of the United States reacts during the Western & Southern Open on August 16, 2022
Photo: Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty

In her second match since announcing she would retire from professional tennis, Serena Williams lost to Emma Raducanu at the Western & Southern Open in Ohio on Tuesday.

Williams lost in straight sets to the British tennis player during the 65-minute match, according to the Washington Post. Raducanu, 19, won the match 6-4, 6-0.

It's widely expected that Williams' next tournament, the U.S. Open later this month, will be the final one of her storied career. The 23-time Grand Slam champion said she planned to "evolve away from tennis" after the New York City tournament in an essay for Vogue on August 9.

After the match, Raducanu paid tribute to Williams and all she has accomplished.

"I think we all need to just honor Serena and her amazing career," she said, per CNN. "I'm so grateful for the experience, being able to play her, and for our careers to have crossed over, and everything she has achieved is so inspirational."

"It was a true honor to share the court with her," she added.

Serena Williams congratulates Emma Raducanu
Matthew Stockman/Getty

Williams, 40, declined an on-court interview after facing Raducanu, opting to wave to the crowd and make a quick exit from the court, the New York Times reported.

The loss comes after Williams was defeated by world No. 12 and 2020 Olympic gold medalist Belinda Bencic at the Canadian Open.

"I've always had some amazing times here both on and off the court, I'll be coming back just as a visitor to this city," Williams said at the time, per Tennis Channel. "Otherwise, it's been remarkable, I've had some really amazing matches here, some really cool wins, a crazy match against [Bencic] a few years ago, that was pretty intense."

In her Vogue essay, Williams said she had difficulty accepting it was time to walk away from professional tennis. But she hopes to concentrate on other things, like having a second child with her husband Alexis Ohanian.

"There is no happiness in this topic for me," Williams, who shares 4-year-old Olympia with Ohanian, wrote. "I know it's not the usual thing to say, but I feel a great deal of pain. It's the hardest thing that I could ever imagine. I hate it."

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"I hate that I have to be at this crossroads," she continued, "I keep saying to myself, I wish it could be easy for me, but it's not. I'm torn: I don't want it to be over, but at the same time I'm ready for what's next."

The U.S. Open will start on August 29 and run through September 11.

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