Emma Raducanu stormed into the third round of the Cincinnati Open with a 6-0 6-2 thrashing of Victoria Azarenka on Wednesday, signalling she will be well prepared for her US Open title defence.
World No 1 Iga Swiatek beat former US Open winner Sloane Stephens 6-4 7-5 to start her campaign at the WTA 1000 tournament, the last big tune-up event before the hardcourt major kicks off in New York. It was a Tour-leading 50th win of the season for two-time French Open champion Swiatek, who will meet Madison Keys in the third round after the American beat Jelena Ostapenko 6-4 7-5.
After thumping Serena Williams 6-4 6-0 in the first round, Raducanu delivered another dominating display, the 10th seed needing just 62 minutes on centre court to dismiss twice Australian Open winner Azarenka. After committing just one unforced error in her match against Williams, the Briton was again firing on all cylinders as she raced out to 6-0 4-0 lead before Azarenka was able to hold serve and avoid an embarrassing double-bagel. She next takes on American seventh seed Jessica Pegula, who rallied to beat Ukraine’s Marta Kostyuk 6-7(5) 6-1 6-2.
Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina barely broke sweat in a 6-3 6-1 win over Garbine Muguruza while Ons Jabeur was pushed hard by hometown favourite Caty McNally. World No 5 Jabeur saved three match points to edge the 20-year-old, ranked 179th in the world, 6-3 4-6 7-6(7) and set up a third-round match against twice former Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova.
Two-time major winner Simona Halep pulled out due of a right thigh injury before her match against Veronica Kudermetova, who advanced to a third round meeting with Ajla Tomljanovic. Australian Tomljanovic lost the first set tiebreaker to Spain’s world number four Paul Badosa but bounced back superbly to win 12 of the next 14 games for a 6-7(3) 6-0 6-2 victory to close out play.