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Emma Raducanu thrilled to take ‘great step’ forward in Cincinnati

Emma Raducanu is feeling positive about her tennis again (Jeff Dean/AP)
Emma Raducanu is feeling positive about her tennis again (Jeff Dean/AP)

Emma Raducanu hailed her run at the Western and Southern Open as a “great step” forward as she prepares to head to New York for the defence of her US Open title.

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

Raducanu felt herself playing with some of the same freedom she displayed at Flushing Meadows, and she told reporters in Cincinnati: “I think this week was a great step for me.

“In the past year I think it’s probably the first tournament or one of the few tournaments that I have actually started going for my shots more.

“I think that recently I was kind of playing and hoping they would miss, and I think I was pushing the ball around a lot more. This week I kind of just was like, ‘Look, I’m just going to try, I don’t care if I make errors, but I’m just going to overhit if anything’.

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

Jessica Pegula battled to victory over Emma Raducanu in Cincinnati
Jessica Pegula battled to victory over Emma Raducanu in Cincinnati (Jeff Dean/AP)

Pegula is the top-ranked American, sitting five places above Raducanu at eighth in the world, and she was ultimately too consistent for the British player.

But Raducanu matched her for much of the contest and she can now look forward to trying to build and improve on these displays in New York, with the US Open beginning on August 29.

“I just love New York as a city, so I can’t wait to go back,” said Raducanu. “I really have been craving a bagel for the last year. It’s one of my favourite cities out there.

“But then, of course, the tournament, I’ve got special memories there from the juniors, I made quarters, and then last year obviously that happened. I’m looking forward to it.”