Emma Raducanu: US Open champion’s resurgent run ended by clinical Jessica Pegula in Western & Southern Open

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Emma Raducanu’s scintillating early run at the Western & Southern Open has ended in a 7-5 6-4 defeat to Jessica Pegula.

The British 10th seed opened her campaign in Cincinnati with impressive victories over WTA Tour veterans Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka.

But the top-ranked American proved too tough a mountain for the defending US Open champion to climb.

Pegula took control early in the match, dictating ground play and converting two break-point opportunities to clinch the first set.

Another break early in the second then gave the world number eight the momentum she needed to secure her place in the quarter-finals.

Pegula’s technical prowess disrupted the clinical tennis Raducanu exhibited in her earlier matches, with the 19-year-old giving up 21 unforced errors in the loss.

Image: Pegula beat Raducanu in straight sets, 7-5, 6-4

Raducanu, though, is still relieved she is swinging freely again and playing the same brand of attacking tennis that took her to a maiden Grand Slam title last year, as she looks ahead to her US Open defence.

“This week was a great step for me,” she said. “In the past year it’s probably like the first tournament or like one of the few tournaments that I have actually started going for my shots more.

“This week I kind of just was like, ‘look, I’m just going to try, I don’t care if I make errors, like it’s fine, 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.”

Image: Raducanu is still looking forward to her US Open title defence after finding form

Raducanu said she was tired of just trying to play defensively and realised she would not succeed at the top level by just pushing the ball around. The US Open begins on August 29.

“It is definitely relieving, because I feel like I’m swinging with the same sort of freedom as I probably had, more similar to last year,” she added.

“So it feels really good. I think that I can really take it as a positive week, and I actually feel like I’m heading in a good direction again.”

Earlier in the day, world No 1 Iga Swiatek was knocked out by Madison Keys, while Wimbledon runner-up and fifth seed Ons Jabeur also made her exit.

Norrie advances to quarters by crushing Shelton

Cameron Norrie cruised into the quarter-finals in Cincinnati with a dominant win over American wild card Ben Shelton.

The British ninth seed was untouchable in the first set, dominating his 229th ranked opponent’s service game to take the set to love.

Image: Cameron Norrie has advanced to the quarter-finals in Cincinnati

Although Shelton was able to hold serve twice in the second set, he was ultimately no match for Norrie’s all-around game.

Norrie wrapped up the 6-0 6-2 result in just 58 minutes to book a clash with Spain’s Carlos Alcaraz.

The 19-year-old eclipsed Marin Cilic in three sets in the third round and could overtake Rafael Nadal and Alexander Zverev for the second spot in the ATP rankings with victory in Cincinnati.

World No 1 Daniil Medvedev wore down Denis Shapovalov 7-5 7-5 to reach the quarter-finals ahead of his US Open title defence.

The Russian top seed was joined in the last eight by Stefanos Tsitsipas, Felix Auger-Aliassime and Borna Coric but his compatriot Andrey Rublev, the sixth seed, was ousted by Taylor Fritz.

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