Toronto: The first stop on Serena Williams' farewell tour came to a quick end as she fell 6-2 6-4 to Belinda Bencic in second-round action at the Canadian Open on Wednesday a day after announcing her forthcoming retirement from tennis.
Williams arrived on the court to a standing ovation and had the full support of the capacity crowd throughout the 77-minute match but was unable to conjure up the old magic that helped her lift three titles in Canada.
Olympic champion Bencic saved the lone break point she faced in the opening set and broke Williams twice to jump ahead 5-2 but the Swiss 12th seed then needed five set points to clinch the opening frame.
In the second set, Bencic got the one break she needed to go ahead 4-3 and never looked back as she sealed the match on her serve when Williams set a return long.
Prior to the match, a tribute video was played featuring comments from tennis pioneer Billie Jean King, current players like Coco Gauff and Emma Raducanu as well as ice hockey great Wayne Gretzky and highlights of Williams' Canadian triumphs.
The highly-anticipated match was played a day after 23-time Grand Slam champion Williams revealed she was "evolving away from tennis" and planned to retire from the sport she has dominated for over two decades.
Up next for Bencic will be Spanish eighth seed Garbine Muguruza, who was a 6-4 6-4 winner over Estonia's Kaia Kanepi.