Relentless Raducanu storms into the third round, but Swiatek is also through

August 16, 2022; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Emma Raducanu (GBR) returns the ball in her match against Serena Williams (USA) at the Western & Southern Open at Lindner Family Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

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Aug 17 (Reuters) – Emma Raducanu stormed into the third round of the Cincinnati Open on Wednesday with a 6-0 6-2 thrashing of Victoria Azarenka, indicating she will be well prepared for her US Open title defense.

World number one, Iga Swiatek, defeated former US Open winner Sloane Stephens 6-4 7-5 to kick off her campaign at the WTA 1000 tournament, the last major refurbishment event before the hard court major kicks off goes to New York.

It was a Tour-leading 50th win of the season for two-time French Open champion Swiatek, who will face Madison Keys in the third round after American Jelena defeated Ostapenko 6-4 7-5.

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“I’m really trying to focus on the future and not go back to expectations and everything that happened in the last tournaments on hard court,” said the Pole, who lost in the third round in Toronto last week.

“I’m really proud of my season, but I want to be a little fearless again.”

After beating Serena Williams 6-4 6-0 in the first round, Raducanu delivered another dominant display, the 10th seed only needing 62 minutes on center court to sack Australian Open winner Azarenka twice.

“I played a great game for sure and to play Vika I had to stay focused all the time,” said Raducanu.

“In the second set I felt the important moments and a few turning points that could have made the second set really difficult.

“I’m really happy with how I dug in and serving out in that last game was really difficult.”

Raducanu, who hasn’t won a tournament since capturing the title at Flushing Meadows last year as a 150th-ranked qualifier, looks set to hit her stride with the final Grand Slam of the season set to take place from August 29 to September 11.

After making just one unforced error in her game against Williams, the 19-year-old Briton fired all cylinders again as she raced to a 6-0 4-0 lead before Belarus’ Azarenka was able to secure the serve. and an embarrassing double-sandwich to avoid.

Raducanu looked just like the player who stunned the tennis world a year ago with her magical run on Flushing Meadows, but Raducanu had all parts of her game working, laying down five aces and a barrage of returns and a flurry of winners.

She then takes on American seventh seed Jessica Pegula, who rallyed to defeat Ukraine’s Marta Kostyuk 6-7(5) 6-1 6-2.

Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina barely broke a sweat in a 6-3 6-1 win over Garbine Muguruza, while Ons Jabeur, her opponent in the grand final on the lawn, was pushed hard by hometown favorite Caty McNally.

World number five Jabeur saved three match points to beat the 20-year-old, 179th in the world, 6-3 4-6 7-6 (7) and set up a third-round match against two-time former Wimbledon champions Petra Kvitova.

“Honestly, I’m not playing my best tennis at the moment,” the Tunisian told the WTA Tour. “But it’s good to win ugly.”

Two-time major winner Simona Halep, who won the Canadian Open in Toronto last week, withdrew due to a right thigh injury from her match against Veronica Kudermetova, who advanced to a third round meeting with Ajla Tomljanovic.

Australian Tomljanovic lost the first set tiebreaker to world number four, Paul Badosa, but recovered superbly to win 12 of the next 14 games to take a 6-7 (3) 6-0 6-2 victory over the game on Wednesday.

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Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai and Steve Keating in Toronto, edited by Ed Osmond/Peter Rutherford

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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