Tennis

Wedding belle Alison Riske stuns party belle Ashleigh Barty

Grass is greener for bride-to-be, as she fells French Open champ 3-6, 6-2, 6-3

World No. 1 Ashleigh Barty was knocked out of Wimbledon yesterday, losing her fourth- round tie against soon-to-be-wed Alison Riske of the United States.

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

Riske will marry Stephen Amritraj, the son of former Indian Davis Cup player Anand, after Wimbledon.

She will face seven-time champion Serena Williams, who defeated Carla Suarez Navarro 6-2, 6-2, for a place in the semi-finals.

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

"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."

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

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 2 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.

"Just to overcome the matches the way that I have, I think that's ultimately what I'm most excited about," said Riske.

"(Reaching) the quarter-finals is amazing but the way that I've been fighting, that is what is most exciting for me."

Meanwhile, Zhang Shuai became the first Chinese woman since Li Na in 2013 to reach the last eight of Wimbledon.

World No. 50 Zhang defeated Ukraine teenager Dayana Yastremska 6-4, 1-6, 6-2. The 30-year-old's opponent in the quarter-finals will be Simona Halep, who defeated 15-year-old Coco Gauff 6-3, 6-3.

In the men's draw, Rafael Nadal reached the Wimbledon quarter-finals for the seventh time with a 6-2, 6-2, 6-2 win over Joao Sousa of Portugal.

He meets Sam Querrey next. - REUTERS, AFP

Tennis