By Ann Liguori
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Alison Riske, a 23-year-old originally from Pittsburgh, Pa., finds herself in her very first Round of 16 in a Grand Slam tournament.
Riske, currently ranked 81 in the world, ousted 7th seed Petra Kvitova 6-3, 6-love. Kvitova has ten titles on her resume including the 2011 Wimbledon title!
Kvitova called for a trainer toward the end of the second set. After the match, we learned that Kvitova suffered with a high fever yesterday and was being treated for a virus. She said she beat Riske last week in New Haven, but “unfortunately, I couldn’t play really long rallies, like more than three shots in the rallies.”
Heading into Wimbledon this year, Riske was 0-5 in Grand Slam main draw matches and as a wild-card entry there, she advanced to the third round, her best performance in a Grand Slam tourney until today.
Riske said she connected with her coach Yves Boulais a year ago. “Before that, I was kind of questioning things. Once I got back with him, things kind of unfolded (for) themselves. I felt really comfortable. I knew that with the tennis I was playing, that things were going to start coming together. I just didn’t know when.”
So far at the US Open, Riske has ousted two seeds, first, the 28th seed from Germany, Mona Barthel, in the second round and then the win over the 7th seed Kvitova.
Riske gave up a scholarship to play at Vanderbilt to turn pro. It remains to be seen if Riske can continue to climb up the rankings and continue to improve. But she’s headed in the right direction.
I normally advise young athletes to get their degrees but perhaps she can take on-line courses while pursuing her professional tennis career. While studying, she’ll learn the meaning of risk-reward. And so far, her decision is paying off!
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