Serena Williams bid farewell to the Canadian Open in the second round in what was her last appearance on the stage while men’s world no.1 Daniil Medvedev also exited the tournament in the men’s bracket.
Serena, playing her first match since announcing her decision to retire from the sport after the U.S Open, lost to Olympic champion Belinda Bencic 6-2 6-4.
Williams arrived on the court to a standing ovation and had the capacity crowd behind her throughout the 77-minute match but was unable to recapture the magic that helped her lift three titles in Canada.
After the match, Williams was presented with team jerseys of Toronto’s NBA and NHL teams for her and her daughter, who was in attendance, as well as a bouquet of flowers that she carried off the court while wiping back tears.
The tributes highlighted the impact Serena Williams has had on the world of sports, not just tennis.
Bencic, after overcoming Serena, will face the Spanish eighth seed Garbine Muguruza in the next round of the Canadian Open who earned a 6-4 6-4 win over Estonia’s Kaia Kanepi.
Bianca Andreescu, Jil Teichmann, Qinwen Zheng, Aryna Sabalenka, Simona Halep and world no.1 Iga Swiatek also reached the next stage of the tournament.
Over at the men’s bracket, Daniil Medvedev’s hopes of getting some match practice before the US Open suffered a big blow as he was sent packing by Nick Kyrgios.
The Australian beat the Russian 6-7(2) 6-4 6-2 for his eighth straight win.
There were plenty of upsets in the other matches as well with Britain’s Dan Evans stunning fifth seed Andrey Rublev 6-4 6-4 while American Tommy Paul rallied to beat Spanish second seed Carlos Alcaraz 6-7(4) 7-6(7) 6-3.
Norwegian Casper Ruud, Australia’s Alex de Minaur, Italy’s Jannik Sinner, Croatia’s Marin Cilic, Frenchman Gael Monfils and Spaniards Roberto Bautista Agut and Pablo Carreno Busta also advanced in the Canadian Open.