Serena Williams collapses from Cincinnati Masters after 6-4, 6-0 loss to Emma Raducanu

Serena Williams knew defeat was a possibility against Emma Raducanu at the Cincinnati Open. But she never expected it to be as brutal as this.

The 19-year-old US Open champion swept through retired Williams in an hour and five minutes, winning 6-4 6-0 in a ruthless, composed display. It was one of Raducanu’s best performances since winning the US Open last year.

There were no goodbye words or tears on the court following Williams, unlike in Toronto last week when they lost to Belinda Bencic.

She quickly gathered her things and left the field with a wave to the crowd who still cheered her on as if she had won, refusing an on-field interview.

Williams struggled to find her rhythm – her backhand often let her down and gave Raducanu easy points. Her serve wasn’t great either and she roared in fury on one occasion in the first set when another double fault gave Raducanu a break point.

But there were still flashes of her greatness, her fighting spirit and that sheer, brutal forehand power that propelled her to a fantastic 23 Grand Slam victories.

It was a quick goodbye from Serena Williams in Cincinnati after Emma Raducanu beat her

Raducanu applauded his opponent after a blowout victory in Cincinnati

Raducanu applauded his opponent after a blowout victory in Cincinnati

The 40-year-old made a swift departure from court after a ruthless Raducanu defeated her

The 40-year-old made a swift departure from court after a ruthless Raducanu defeated her

Raducanu produced one of his best performances of the year to defeat Williams 6-4, 6-0

Raducanu produced one of his best performances of the year to defeat Williams 6-4, 6-0

The crowd was right behind Williams but they couldn't cheer him to victory on Tuesday

The crowd was right behind Williams but they couldn’t cheer him to victory on Tuesday

Raducanu paid tribute to Williams after the game and said it was an honor to play her

Raducanu paid tribute to Williams after the game and said it was an honor to play her

At 4-1 in the first set and 40-15 behind, Williams dominated the next few points on her only forehand and simultaneously sent the crowd into a frenzy as she took the match.

But this is where Raducanu answered so well. Her shot selection was smart, her own forehand was good too and she responded to being broken – and Williams then held with a powerful serve – hanging on with love.

Raducanu never allowed Williams, or the crowd, to gain momentum throughout the game. She hit 14 winners with just one unforced error.

“I didn’t really know that statistic. I think we all have to honor Serena and her amazing career,’ Raducanu said afterwards. “I am so grateful for the experience of having played her and for our careers to cross paths. It was an honor to share the court with her.

“The vibe tonight was amazing. Even when you (the crowd) were cheering for it, I was all for it!

“I was nervous from the first point to the last, she can come back from anything and I was glad I was able to keep my composure.”

But if Raducanu was actually feeling nervous, no one could tell. It was a laser-focused performance from the 19-year-old who looked in the zone from the moment she passed Williams in the hallway outside the locker room.

Williams particularly seemed to struggle with his backhand and serve on Tuesday

Williams particularly seemed to struggle with his backhand and serve on Tuesday

Williams' best shots came on her forehand - she again showed flashes of her greatness

Williams’ best shots came on her forehand – she again showed flashes of her greatness

Cincinnati tennis fans were out in force cheering on Williams against Raducanu

Cincinnati tennis fans were out in force cheering on Williams against Raducanu

But the 19-year-old was in magnificent form as he prepares for his US Open defense

But the 19-year-old was in magnificent form as he prepares for his US Open defense

Raducanu paid tribute to Williams after the game and said it was an honor to play her

Raducanu paid tribute to Williams after the game and said it was an honor to play her

For UK-based tennis fans, think of this as Wimbledon in reverse. The crowd was absolutely united behind Serena, as Raducanu said – every point she won was cheered as if it won her a game or a set.

“Serena the GOAT” and “Long live the Queen” read the signs that were waved as Williams was announced and entered the field.

Maybe that suited Raducanu. There haven’t been many times since winning the US Open where she hasn’t been the center of attention, but here against Williams she was just that. It’s a win that boosts her confidence as she prepares to defend her title.

So it’s one last dance for Williams at the US Open, even though fans are clinging to the fact that she didn’t explicitly say Flushing Meadows would be her last tournament. Williams is 0-2 since announcing she would retire.

“Tonight was a game in my eyes, to be able to play the greatest of all time – who knows how many more chances we’ll have to share the pitch,” added Raducanu. “I think it’s amazing how our careers have overlapped and I was like ‘it’s a complete gift, you’re sharing the pitch with the best of all time. Make the most of it, in the rest of your career you’ll ‘I’m going to remember playing Serena Williams.’

Next up for Raducanu is a match against another former world No. 1 player, Belarusian Victoria Azarenka.

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