Emma Raducanu to face Serena Williams for first time in Cincinnati

·2 min read
Emma Raducanu hits a shot against Camila Giorgi of Italy - GETTY IMAGES
Emma Raducanu hits a shot against Camila Giorgi of Italy - GETTY IMAGES

Emma Raducanu will have the chance to tick Serena Williams off her bucket list on Monday after the pair were drawn to face each other in the opening round of the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati.

By the time Raducanu was born in 2002, Williams had already won four grand slams, 19 WTA Tour trophies and become world No 1.

On Monday night, the British No 1 will be part of Williams' farewell tour after the 23-time major winner announced her intention to retire from the sport after the US Open, saying she was "evolving away from tennis, toward other things that are important to me".

Both players will be desperate for a win to boost their preparations ahead of the final grand slam of the year.

Williams lost in straight sets to Belinda Bencic in the second round of the National Bank Open on Thursday while Raducanu went home a round earlier in Toronto, with her 7-6 (0), 6-2 defeat to defending champion Camila Giorgi following a quarter-final loss to Liudmila Samsonova at Washington's Citi Open.

Speaking after Williams' announcement in Vogue magazine, Raducanu was effusive in her praise for the 40-year-old American.

"She has achieved so much. And to see her around in this US swing is really inspiring," she said. "Like she keeps playing because she obviously loves the game. And I think that longevity of a career is something that a lot of the players and me especially we aspire to achieve as well.

"I think that she definitely changed the game. To dominate that much, I think that it was, well there's not really been someone who has dominated like her in the women's game. So I think she did change the game a lot in that respect."

The winner of the first-round encounter will face either Victoria Azarenka or Kaia Kanepi in round two.