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Wedding bells driving me on, says Riske after stunning Barty

 

Good job: Ashleigh Barty congratulates Alison Riske on her victory
Good job: Ashleigh Barty congratulates Alison Riske on her victory
Ashleigh Barty

By Steve Simpson

Shock Wimbledon quarter-finalist Alison Riske said she wished she could get married more often after crediting her forthcoming wedding with inspiring her fourth round victory over World No.1 Ashleigh Barty yesterday.

French Open champion Barty, bidding to become the first female Australian champion at Wimbledon since 1980, lost 3-6 6-2 6-3 to the World No.55.

Riske, who will marry Stephen Amritraj, the son of former Indian Davis Cup player Anand, in Pittsburgh after Wimbledon, goes on to face seven-time champion Serena Williams for a place in the semi-finals.

It will be the 29-year-old's first appearance in a Grand Slam quarter-final.

"I wish I could get married more often - maybe we'll have to renew our vows because it's worked out well having that on the horizon!" said Riske on how her impending nuptials have helped her game.

"I'm looking forward to it so much. Everything is pretty much already in stone. I'm not really stressed about it.

"I haven't been stressed about it really from the beginning, probably because my fiance has been doing all the work."

Defeat brought an end to 23-year-old Barty's 15-match winning run.

However, she had been dominant at the start yesterday, serving up four successive aces in the opening game on Court Two before breaking for a 3-1 lead.

Riske, who had spent four more hours on court than the Australian in getting this far, retrieved the break in the eighth game but it was a brief reprieve as Barty took the opener.

Riske had won the grass court title at 's-Hertogenbosch in the run-up to Wimbledon and her credentials on the surface eventually shone through as the match progressed.

She broke in the fourth and eighth games of the second set and carved out the key break of the decider in the eighth game.

It was all over when Barty speared a forehand wide of the court.

On the prospect of facing Williams for a place in the last four, Riske said: "Bring it on!"

She added: "It's super exciting. I played doubles with Serena but never played against her. It will be an interesting match.

"Today was great preparation for me going into the Serena match. Again, I'm ready for a war. She's the greatest athlete I think that's ever been on the women's side."

Riske had reached her second career Grand Slam fourth round the hard way, coming back from a 1-4 final set deficit to defeat Croatia's Donna Vekic in the first round.

She then needed a 9-7 third set to see off Serbia's Ivana Jorovic before hitting back from 0-3 down in the decider to beat Swiss 13th seed Belinda Bencic in the third round.

"I had to play aggressive. I had to take it to Ash," said Riske.

"The grass definitely brings out the best in me. Hopefully it will rub off and happen in other places too.

"I have a great return game and I think grass just really suits my game and I feel at home here. I really don't want Wimbledon to end."

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