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Serena v Raducanu – get ready for early excitement as Cincinnati draw is out!

The Serena Williams farewell tour continues in Cincinnati with a blockbuster first-rounder against Emma Raducanu.

Emma Raducanu, 2022 Emma Raducanu, 2022 | Antoine Couvercelle / Panoramic

This week in Toronto we heard many players who never had the chance to face Serena Williams in their career, saying they wish they had had the chance.

For Emma Raducanu, last year’s US Open champion, that opportunity will come in the first round at the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati. The draw was released on Friday, pitting the 40-year-old American against the 19-year-old British No 1 in what is sure to to be the most-watched first-round encounter of the event – and perhaps the 2022 season.

Williams will be making her final appearance at Cincinnati, and the atmosphere at the Lindner Family Tennis Center promises to be off the charts.

Raducanu on Serena – her career was incredible

Last week at Toronto Raducanu talked about the impact that Williams has had on the tour. She has never faced Williams but said that the American icon has said “hi” to her a few times. She added that the pair were practicing side by side in Toronto at one point this week, but rain started and they moved to the locker room.

“I mean it’s incredible her career,” Raducanu told reporters at Toronto. “She has achieved so much. And to see her around in this U.S. swing is really inspiring. 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.”

Raducanu playing catch up…

An interesting fact to note: When Emma Raducanu was born in 2002, Serena Williams already had five Grand Slam singles titles to her name.

As far as 2022 goes, Raducanu is carrying a record of 11-14, while Williams is 1-2 on the season. Williams is 23-6 at Cincinnati with titles in 2014 and 2015 – she last appeared in 2022.

Raducanu is making her Cincinnati debut.

The full draw

Here is the full women’s singles draw at Cincinnati:

womens draw 2022 Cincinnati

The Williams-Raducanu winner faces…

The winner of this blockbuster first-rounder between the unseeded 23-time major champion (a two-time champion in Cincinnati) and the No 10 seed will face the winner of Kaia Kanepi and Victoria Azarenka in the second round.

Venus Williams is in the same section of the draw and will face 14-seeded Karolina Pliskova in her first match at Cincinnati.

Other popcorn first-rounders to watch at Cincy Tennis

In addition to Williams-Raducanu and Williams-Pliskova, there are several must-watch first-rounders on the docket. Here are six:

  • Beatriz Haddad Maia v Jelena Ostapenko
  • Simona Halep v Karolina Muchova
  • Naomi Osaka v Zhang Shuai
  • Daria Kasatkina v Amanda Anisimova
  • Bianca Andreescu v Camila Giorgi
  • Jil Teichmann v Petra Kvitova
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