Raducanu beat Williams and Azarenka in her two opening matches in Cincinnati.
Martina Navratilova thought Emma Raducanu showed flashes of her 2021 US Open level when she met Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka this week. Raducanu, 19, handed 23-time Grand Slam champion Williams a 6-4 6-0 loss in the Cincinnati first round.
After ousting Williams, Raducanu beat another Grand Slam champion as she saw off Azarenka 6-0 6-2. “She played like she did when she won the US Open, it’s that simple!
She has not had this form since then and I didn’t think she could do it back-to-back because I thought yesterday was mostly because of Serena, but clearly that wasn’t the case, she gets up for the big matches,” Navratilova said, per The Independent.
Navratilova praises Raducanu
Raducanu has been one of the most criticized WTA players this season, at times probably unfairly. But this week she delivered against two Grand Slam champions and two former top-ranked players in the world.
“I think that it’s when you are playing two great champions, again, you feel like it’s just great to share the court with them and you take whatever lessons, and you just really cherish the opportunity when you are playing such great players,” Raducanu said.
“I knew I had to be on my game, but I kind of also backed myself and my own game. I think that starting the point is obviously really important against both of them, because, yeah, like Vika has got incredible returns and Serena is probably the best serve in the game.
“After beaitng Williams and Azarenka in back-to-back matches, Raducanu fell short versus eighth-ranked Jessica Pegula. In the Cincinnati last-16, Pegula defeated Raducanu 7-5 6-4. Raducanu recovered from an early break down in the first set but Pegula broke Raducanu again in the 12th game, when the Briton was serving to stay in the first set.
After winning the first set, Pegula broke Raducanu early in the second set and then held on to her serve the rest of the match to complete a two-set win.