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Serena Williams falls to U.S. Open champ at Western & Southern Open

Serena and Emma.jpg
Western & Southern Open
Serena lost to her much younger opponent 4-6, 0-6.

Forty-year-old tennis legend Serena Williams clearly had the crowd behind her as she battled U.S. Open champ 19-year-old Brit Emma Raducanu at the Western & Southern Open in Mason Tuesday night.

Down 4-1 in the first set, Williams came back to break Raducanu’s serve and win that game and the next one going 4-3. But her younger opponent was better. Raducanu won that set 6-4 and the next one 6-0.

Until Tuesday night, Williams had never lost her first match at the Mason tournament.

Fans love her and will miss her

Earlier this month Serena talked about her retirement plans with Vogue magazine. For fans, that is bittersweet.

Ire Carolina was one of the lucky ones to see Serena up close as the 40-year-old headed into the player's lounge. Carolina was still shaking as I interviewed her. “(She’s) just been the pride of Black women, watching her grow up and such an icon,” she says.

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Ann Thompson
Ire Carolina and her sister Lowette Swinton will miss Serena Williams when she retires. Both have followed the tennis star throughout her career.

Carolina drove up from Florida. Her sister Lowette Swinton is such a fan she named her dogs after Serena and her sister Venus. Swinton says Serena should be in control of the way she leaves tennis. “You know, go out on her own terms. That’s the way to do it. Don’t let them beat you down.”

Sarah Stanchin works for the USTA and gathered near the red carpet where the players come in. “You know what? She’s had a long career. She’s had a great career. She’s done a lot for the game, for women, for African American women. Just overall-for the sport, introducing tennis to a lot of communities, a lot of diverse communities and giving everyone a great opportunity to play,” she says.

“She’s changed the game,” says Nashville’s Latonya Todd. “She’s been an influencer for so many people, especially women of color. So, I feel if she’s ready for the next step in her life in terms of evolution, I have nothing but respect for that.”

Williams is now headed for the U.S. Open after an early exit at the Western & Southern Open.

Serena, a 23-time Grand Slam major champion, has won more majors than anyone in the Open era (1968). This was her 10th Western & Southern Open, winning in 2014 and 2015.

With more than 30 years of journalism experience in the Greater Cincinnati market, Ann Thompson brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her reporting. She has reported for WKRC, WCKY, WHIO-TV, Metro Networks and CBS/ABC Radio. Her work has been recognized by the Associated Press and the Society of Professional Journalists. In 2019 and 2011 A-P named her “Best Reporter” for large market radio in Ohio. She has won awards from the Association of Women in Communications and the Alliance for Women in Media. Ann reports regularly on science and technology in Focus on Technology.