Wimbledon: World number one Barty knocked out by Riske

Ashleigh Barty was brought down by Alison Riske, who reached her first ever Grand Slam quarterfinal on the 30th attempt and at the age of 29.

Published : Jul 08, 2019 17:41 IST

Ashleigh Barty lost to Alison Riske in the round of 16 of Wimbledon 2019.
Ashleigh Barty lost to Alison Riske in the round of 16 of Wimbledon 2019.

Ashleigh Barty lost to Alison Riske in the round of 16 of Wimbledon 2019.

World No.1 Ashleigh Barty’s variety, versatility and grass-court intellect finally found a match in Alison Riske, as she was ousted 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 in the fourth round at Wimbledon here on Monday.

The unseeded Riske, whose favourite surface also happens to be grass, snapped Barty’s 15-match winning streak that started on the clay at Roland Garros, continued on the grass at Birmingham before reaching Wimbledon. The American will next meet compatriot Serena Williams, who dismissed Carla Suarez Navarro 6-2, 6-2 in just over an hour.

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“I'm so incredibly excited," Riske said later. "The fact that it's at Wimbledon, my favorite Grand Slam, the place that I had always dreamed to be in the last eight club of. I am just over the moon and so happy."

There was no such elation for the 15-year-old Cori Gauff, who was swiftly brought down to earth by seventh seed Simona Halep, losing 6-3, 6-3. The counter-punching Halep was the toughest opponent Gauff would face until now and it showed on the day.

The Romanian drew Gauff into long rallies but proved too consistent and resourceful, especially from the baseline. The American youngster couldn’t also keep up physically; this was her seventh match -- including three in qualifying -- in a week-and-a-half. 

READ: Wimbledon: Cori Gauff's sensational run ends against Simona Halep

The upset of the day was however Barty’s. The way she started though, there was no hint of the result. The 23-year-old won each of her first six service points with aces, used the one-two punch -- a gentle one it must be said -- to great effect, and employed the backhand slice well to reset the rally and regain court position. The break to 3-1 and the subsequent hold seemed par for the course.

Riske did break back once, but the Aussie appeared the better player. Riske lost her serve again in the eighth game, courtesy three backhand errors and a superb backhand pass from Barty. A hold to love gave the top seed the set moments later.

In the second set however, Riske, ranked 55 in the world, found the tennis to match Barty’s. The 29-year-old’s forehand was less of a shot and more of a steer. In the second and third sets she steered it too well. She routinely hit the lines, used the short angle to pull Barty wide and opened up the court for the easy put away.

As Riske raised her game, Barty imploded. At crucial moments, her first serve gave way, as she surrendered serve twice in the second set to lose it 6-2. The second break, coming in the last game, ensured Riske would serve ahead in the third, the pressure of which Barty clearly felt. Riske also seemed better prepared, for she had gone the distance in each of her first three rounds here.

After both players had a look at each other’s serves early on, Riske made the play at 4-3. With Barty serving at 30-30, Riske dished out a return winner off a weak second serve before earning the right to close out the match with a fine forehand down the line. A nervous hold ensued but she wouldn’t be denied a place in her maiden Slam quarterfinal.

With the defeat of Barty, third seed Karolina Pliskova could have earned the No.1 ranking if she had made the final here, but she lost a marathon to countrywoman Karolina Muchova 4-6, 7-5, 13-11.


(With inputs from Opta).

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