Emma Raducanu might have just been granted her biggest wish — to play against her idol Serena Williams at least once. The draw for the Western & Southern Open, also known as the Cincinnati Masters, has been released with the 40-year-old Williams set to square off against 19-year-old Raducanu in the first round.
Raducanu has often lauded the American legend for her achievements and longevity. While the Brit faced a first-round exit at the ongoing Canadian Open, Williams lost in the second.
Whoever wins between Williams and Raducanu will go on to face either Victoria Azarenka or Kaia Kanepi.
As soon as the draw was released, tennis fans took to social media to express their excitement about watching the two Grand Slam winners from different generations in action.
"Emma Raducanu was born in 2002 (on Nov. 13). At that time, Serena Williams had won 210 matches (0.826 win rate), was world #1, had won 19 WTA titles, 4 of which were GS, and had defeated players like Graf, Hingis, Venus, Clijsters, Henin. Next week, they will play each other," a fan tweeted.
"That’s a draw and a half right there. Don’t think Emma will really care whether she wins or lose; she’ll get to play Serena before she retired, and that’s super super cool. (Fun fact: by the time Emma Raducanu was born, Serena already had 11 Grand Slam titles.)," a user posted.
"This is the sort of match that will either be absolutely epic or horrifically awful. For real though, I imagine that Raducanu will be feeling immensely lucky to be able to play Serena right as the door was about to close for good on that opportunity," another fan tweeted.
Here are a few more reactions:
Belinda Bencic beats Serena Williams in 2022 Canadian Open 2R
Serena Williams beat 57th-ranked Nuria Parrizas-Diaz of Spain in the first round of the National Bank Open in Montreal this week, which marked her first victory since the 2021 French Open 430 days ago.
The American injured her leg during her opening round match at last year's Wimbledon and was on the sidelines for a year. She made her singles return at Wimbledon this year but lost to Harmony Tan in the first round.
In the second round in Montreal, World No. 12 Belinda Bencic comfortably defeated the 23-time Major winner in straight sets. Williams, who was looking forward to winning a fourth title at the tournament, was broken thrice as she lost 6-2, 6-4.
The 40-year-old American will return to action at the WTA 1000 tournament in Cincinnati, which is scheduled to be played from August 15-21 at the Lindner Family Tennis Center in Ohio.