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Emma Raducanu applauds Serena Williams after ousting ‘the greatest’ in Cincy

Emma Raducanu shakes hands with Serena Williams after their first-round match in Cincinnati. (Frey/TPN/Getty Images)

As the much-anticipated showdown between Emma Raducanu and Serena Williams began Tuesday at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati, Raducanu wasted no time establishing herself.

Raducanu jumped out to a 4-1 lead in the first set. While Williams battled back to 4-3, the 40-year-old American was no match for the Brit, who wound up winning the match 6-4, 6-0 in a little more than an hour.

It was a big win for defending U.S. Open champion Raducanu in more ways than one.

The 19-year-old has not played up to the same level since her first Grand Slam win, as she has dealt with multiple injuries over the last year. She was in the zone on Tuesday, though, firing off just one unforced error in the match compared Williams’ 19.

“Playing Serena and managing to win, I’m obviously really proud of myself, and it does give me confidence,” Raducanu said.

“Each of these wins kind of builds confidence regardless of the level you’re playing, every single win counts. But of course this one more so, because you’re playing, like, the greatest. But I’m not trying to get too high or too low right now.”

The much-anticipated matchup also came on the heels of Williams’ retirement announcement, and Raducanu said she was grateful to have had the opportunity to share the court with the 23-time Grand Slam singles champion. Williams is expected to retire after the U.S. Open, which starts on Aug. 29.

“I can’t believe I just played Serena Williams,” Raducanu said. ”It’s something that I think I’m really fortunate to have been able to do, and for our careers to have crossed when there’s such a big [age] gap and watching her growing up, it was an amazing experience to just play her.

“You have to cherish the moment and you’re going to have this memory for the rest of your career. Everything that she’s achieved is so inspirational and it was a true honor to share the court with her.”