Emma Raducanu lifts lid on US Open edge Serena Williams and Azarenka wins have given her

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Raducanu was part of the most anticipated match in Cincinnati this week when she drew Williams in the first round, days after the 23-time Grand Slam champion announced that she would soon be retiring. After the clash was postponed by a day, the ninth seed finally took to the court to face one of her childhood heroes and earned a statement 6-4 6-0 victory in just 65 minutes.

Things didn’t get any easier for the Bromley teenager, who then returned to the tournament’s Centre Court less than 18 hours later to take on another multi-Grand Slam champion in Azarenka, earning an even more emphatic victory 6-0 6-2 in 62 minutes. Despite losing to Pegula in the third round on Thursday night, the US Open champion has explained that she earned some valuable experience from her first two matches – beyond the obvious that comes with beating two champions of the game.

“To play back-to-back days between the first and second, it was a pretty quick turnover,” Raducanu confessed after her 7-5 6-4 loss to the seventh seed. “I think that it’s difficult as well to stay mentally focused, to keep mentally just going back out there and backing the performances up.”

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It has been a mixed bag of results for Raducanu in the pre-US Open tournaments, reaching the last-eight in Washington before falling to Camila Giorgi in the first round in Toronto last week, dropping the last six games to the defending champion in a 7-5 6-2 loss. But she bounced back to prove herself against Williams and Azarenka this week, and will now return to New York.

Raducanu stunned the sporting world just under a year ago when she became the first qualifier in history to win a Grand Slam title in Flushing Meadows. Then aged 18 and ranked down at world No 150, she didn’t drop a set through 10 consecutive matches en route to her maiden title victory at the US Open, in what was just her fourth-ever professional tournament.

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