Emma Raducanu said she was ‘grateful to have shared the court’ with ‘inspiration’ Serena Williams as she beat the tennis legend in their first ever meeting.

Raducanu won 6-4, 6-0 in the first round at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati – the first time the women have faced each other.

This follows Williams revealing earlier this month that she is “evolve away from tennis”with the US Open in a few weeks which should be his last tournament.

Raducanu put in a neat performance to wrap up the match in just over an hour, winning the second set with love.

There is a 20-year age difference between the two women and williams won his first Grand Slam in 1999, three years before his British opponent was born.

“We all have to honor Serena and her incredible career,” Raducanu told the crowd after her win.

“I’m so grateful for the experience of being able to play her and for our careers to cross paths. Everything she’s accomplished is so inspiring and it was a real honor to share the pitch with her.”

The victory should also give her confidence for the next round against Victoria Azarenka – and for the US Open, the tournament she won in sensational fashion last year.

The 19-year-old failed to come close to that performance at subsequent Grand Slams and lost in the second round at Wimbledon in the summer.

Williams fans may still cling to the fairy tale possibility that she could do something special at Flushing Meadows, but the odds are firmly against the 40-year-old adding to her 23 Grand Slams.

Revealing her intention to end her career, she wrote in Vogue: “I feel a lot of pain. It’s the hardest thing I can imagine. I hate it.”

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Serena will participate in the US Open at the end of August, which will be her last tournament. Photo: AP

“I never liked the word retirement. It doesn’t sound like a modern word to me,” she added.

“Perhaps the best word to describe what I do is evolution. I’m here to tell you that I’m evolving away from tennis, towards other things that are important to me.”

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