Riske wins, advances to third round in U.S. Open
Alison Riske returns a shot to Mona Barthel of Germay during the second round of the 2013 U.S. Open tennis tournament, Thursday, Aug. 29, 2013, in New York. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
NEW YORK – Alison Riske, a former resident of Peters Township, made quick work of Mona Barthel of Germany, breezing to a 6-4, 6-2 victory Thursday in the United States Open tennis tournament and advancing into the third round.
The 23-year-old Riske will take on Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic in the third round. Kvitova advanced with a straight sets win over Bojana Jovanovski of Serbia.
“I’m definitely excited,” Riske said in an interview with reporters following the match. “I mean, being in the clouds, I’m not really in the clouds because, I only won a couple matches. Obviously, I came here to do more than that. It’s definitely exciting. I’m looking forward to being here for another day.”
Riske began the tournament with a straight sets win over Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria.
Riske was a wild-card entry into the tournament and ranked 95th in the last Women’s Tennis Associaation ratings. Barthel came into the match ranked 34th in the world but was derailed by 21 unforced errors to Riske’s 12. Riske also had return winners to Barthel’s four.
“I think this is the first year I’ve really felt comfortable at the U.S. Open,” she said. “It’s been pretty overwhelming before for me. I think now I just feel really comfortable. I feel great with my game. I just feel good with where I’m at. I feel like I matured a lot and I’m just really enjoying it. I think the electricity surrounding the Open is not comparable. The fans are amazing. I mean, I think I heard my name a hundred times today, so it was pretty cool.”
Riske got 63 percent of her first serves in and won 11 of 15 points at the net.
Riske will play a doubles match with partner Melanie Oudin. The duo is scheduled to play Lauren Davis and Grace Min of the United States.
In other matches, Sara Errani said she felt devastated after her lopsided loss at the U.S. Open. “I don’t want to play. I don’t want to stay out there on the court,” she said.
It showed in the fourth-seeded player’s 6-3, 6-1 loss Thursday to her Italian friend and teammate, Flavia Pennetta, that went down as the biggest upset so far at the year’s final Grand Slam tournament.
Much more used to the pressure is top-seeded Serena Williams, who followed Errani’s match in Arthur Ashe Stadium and overcame a slow start for a 6-3, 6-0 victory over Galina Voskoboeva.
Williams has lost a total of four games in two matches as she seeks a repeat at the U.S. Open. “I’ll have to think about it and see what I can do better, but it was OK,” she said.
The first set was dicey at times and took 44 minutes to close out. Chasing a ball at the net while receiving at 5-3, Williams slipped and fell on her backside. But she got to the ball and saved game point. Two points later, she closed out the set. The second set took only 27 minutes.
The Errani match was nearly as lopsided, only it was the so-called favorite on the losing end. She came into the U.S. Open with the highest seeding ever for an Italian woman at a major and said the pressure of the high seeding and the high expectations that comes with that are getting to her.
“I don’t know why, but I’m not enjoying going on the courts, and that is the worst thing a player can have,” she said. “Because if you go there and you fight and you lose, not my problem. But the problem is, if you go there and you are not fighting. That is my best thing that I always had as my good thing. And I have to find a way.”
Pennetta took control of this match by breaking Errani’s serve in the first game, then never looked back. She finished with 33 winners to 12 for Errani, who made the semifinals here last year after reaching the final in the French Open. Her ranking shot up and many wondered how she did it, with a serve that topped out around 85 mph, no net game to speak of and no huge weapons from the baseline. It was mostly grit and heart and when those aren’t present, well, she gets results like she got Thursday. “We have to find the solution, because I think these things happen to everybody when you feel on the top and the people playing against you have no pressure and you have a lot of pressure,” Errani said.
Pennetta improved to 4-2 lifetime against Errani. At 31, Pennetta is five years older than her Italian Fed Cup and Olympic teammate, and she is no stranger to the big stage.
Four years ago, Pennetta became the first Italian woman to crack the top 10. She’s a three-time quarterfinalist at the U.S. Open but came to Flushing Meadows this week an underdog ranked 83rd, a slide that began when she missed the end of last year with a wrist injury.
“I tried to play aggressive from the very beginning and I was perfect today, I think,” Pennetta said. Elsewhere around Flushing Meadows, Errani’s doubles partner, No. 10 Roberta Vinci, defeated Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic, 4-6, 6-1, 6-2, while this year’s Wimbledon runner-up, 16th-seeded Sabine Lisicki, defeated Paula Ormaechea of Argentina, 6-2, 6-3. Other winners included No. 9 Jelena Jankovic, No. 25 Kaia Kanepi, No. 26 Alize Cornet and No. 27 Svetlana Kuznetsova who, besides Williams, is the only player left in the women’s field to have won the U.S. Open.
No. 8 Angelique Kerber withstood a tough fight from teenager Eugenie Bouchard of Canada, but won 6-4, 2-6, 6-3.
Kerber, who has spent the last year in the top 10, says she embraces the expectations that come with the ranking.
“Of course I feel the pressure, but right now I’m not thinking about this,” she said. “I just try to give my best and play my tennis and feel good.”
Playing later Thursday were No. 7 Roger Federer, No. 2 Rafael Nadal, No. 4 David Ferrer and 17-year-old American Victoria Duval, who knocked out 2011 champion Samantha Stosur in a three-set match Tuesday.
Williams was heading back out for a doubles match with her sister, Venus.
The Bryan brothers also had their first-round match Thursday as they try to take the first step toward completing the calendar Grand Slam.