Raducanu: Cincinnati run was a 'great step' ahead of US Open title defence

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Reigning US Open champion Emma Raducanu says her run at the Western & Southern Open was a "great step" ahead of her title defence at Flushing Meadows.

The 13th-ranked Briton lost 7-5 6-4 in the third round on Thursday to American seventh seed Jessica Pegula in Cincinnati.

The defeat ended Raducanu's run, but the 19-year-old had brushed aside former major winners Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka in the previous rounds, including taking a set off each to love.

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Raducanu, who has an 11-14 record this season, lost in the second round of all three majors earlier this year but she believed this week offered signs she can mount a decent title defence in New York starting later this month.

"This week was a great step for me," Raducanu told reporters after the loss. "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, it's fine,' but I'm just going to like over-hit if anything."

Raducanu added she felt like the game that held her in good stead 12 months ago was returning.

"I kind of just got tired of pushing the ball around and having people hit the ball and they'd run me around," she said.

"I was just, like, 'Look, I have tried that for pretty much a year.' If I'm going to lose, I'm probably going to lose anyway pushing the ball around at this level. It just doesn't work. I'm just going to do it and give this tournament a swing. And it worked.

"I think that 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, 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.

"I think that at the US Open I played really good tennis. I was swinging with the freedom that I started to tap into this week.

"I did really enjoy this week, like if I made an error, it was almost like a positive thing, like, 'Good, you are going for it.' It paid off a lot more than it didn't."

The US Open draw is due to take place on Thursday August 25, with the tournament commencing on Monday August 29.