Emma Raducanu hails Cincinnati run as ‘big step’ forward ahead of US Open defense

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Emma Raducanu hailed her run at the Western and Southern Opens as a “big step” forward as she prepares to travel to New York to defend her US Open title.

The 19-year-old put on some of her best tennis since last year’s remarkable triumph as she defeated Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka before losing 7-5, 6-4 to in-form American Jessica Pegula overnight.

Raducanu felt she played with the same freedom she showed in Flushing Meadows, and she told reporters in Cincinnati, “I think this week was a big step for me.

“I think last year was probably the first tournament or one of the few tournaments where I’ve actually started putting more emphasis on my shots.

“I think I’ve been kind of playing lately hoping they’d miss and I think I’ve been pushing the ball around a lot more. This week I was like, ‘Look, I’m just going to try, I don’t care if I make mistakes, but if anything, I’m just overdoing it.’

“I’m pretty proud of how I did this week and I think it’s a great step to move forward.”

Jessica Pegula fought to defeat Emma Raducanu in Cincinnati (Jeff Dean/AP)

(AP)

Pegula is the top-ranked American, five spots ahead of Raducanu in eighth in the world, and she ended up being too consistent for the British player.

But Raducanu suited her for much of the competition and she can now look forward to building and improving those performances in New York when the US Open begins on August 29.

“I just love New York as a city, so I can’t wait to get back there,” Raducanu said. “I was really craving a bagel last year. It’s one of my favorite cities out there.

“But then of course the tournament, I have special memories of the juniors, I made quarterfinals, and of course that happened last year. I look forward to it.”

https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/tennis/emma-raducanu-cincinnati-lta-victoria-azarenka-serena-williams-b2148750.html Emma Raducanu hails Cincinnati run as ‘big step’ forward ahead of US Open defense

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