CINCINNATI -- Last Tuesday, Emma Raducanu fell in her opening match at the National Bank Open in Toronto.
The next day, she was on the practice court.
“Wasn’t taking any time to reflect or mourn,” she told the press Sunday ahead of the Western & Southern Open.
For all the attention she receives, Raducanu has remained focused in her mission to grow as a tennis player. A mission that continues this week in Cincinnati, where she will take on 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams in the opening round.
As you can imagine, a few eyeballs will be watching that one, and for Raducanu, this first (and likely last) matchup against Williams is a special one.
“It’s going to be an exciting match,” she said. “An amazing opportunity to play probably the best tennis player of all time. For our careers to have crossed over, I am really fortunate to get to play her, and whatever happens, I think it’s just going to be an incredible experience for me and something I think I will remember for the rest of my life.”
Raducanu was among the many players in Cincinnati getting ready for one of the biggest weeks of the year. Here’s a look at a few others we captured ahead of this WTA 1000 event:
Like Raducanu, Stephens is a former US Open winner. Her path in Cincinnati won’t be an easy one. Her first-round opponent is Alize Cornet, who isn’t far removed from a Round of 16 appearance at Wimbledon, where she ended Iga Swiatek's 37-match win streak. As luck would have it, Swiatek will await the winner of this one.
Krejcikova has fallen to No.19 in the world and heads into Cincinnati coming off a straight-sets loss against Karolina Pliskova in the opener in Toronto. Krejcikova’s first-round opponent will be Veronika Kudermetova, who has played strong tennis all season. Earlier this month, she reached the semifinals in San Jose, and before that, the quarters in Berlin and the final four in s’Hertogenbosch. The winner would face off against Karolina Muchova or Simona Halep, who Sunday in Toronto won her 24th career title.
This past week, Badosa fell in her opening match at the National Bank Open. Ranked No.3, she is looking to regain her form from earlier in the year when she won her second event of the season, in Sydney, and then went 7-2 in the back-to-back WTA 1000 events in Indian Wells and Miami. Badosa has an opening-round bye and will face a qualifier in the Round of 32.
Hard to believe with the season she has had, but Swiatek has gone three straight events without a title. Nonetheless, her stats are off the charts. She has a tour-leading six titles, all of which she won in succession. Swiatek, however, has not won a match in Cincinnati since 2019.
Osaka heads into Cincinnati with health concerns. Last week, she pulled out of her opener against Kaia Kanepi with a back injury. “I felt my back from the start of the match, and despite trying my best to push through it I just wasn’t able to today," Osaka said afterward. Osaka is hoping to get back on track ahead of the US Open, where she is a two-time winner. She'll take on her friend Zhang Shuai in the first round.