The first slam of the decade, the 2020 Australian Open is trying hard to usher in a new era of women's tennis, but the throwbacks to the past keep on coming. Follwoing the big Venus Williams-Coco Gauff and Elina Svitolina-Garbine Muguruza Grand Slam repeats, we'll have top seed Asheligh Barty and American Alison Riske go fight for a quarterfinal spot at a major again. If Riske's win at the 2019 Wimbledon Championships sent shockwaves through the tennis circuits, an upset in Melbourne will be an ever bigger newsmaker.
The American's rise in the last year has been quite remarkable and her win over Barty last year was a big part of the confidence building. Riske talked about the change of perspective that she has had over her career and how a new-found relaxed approach towards her game has helped her improve significantly.
The change has been evident in Riske's game as she has gotten a lot better at handling setbacks, even within a match. She has come back from losing a set better than anyone else on tour, atleast in 2019.
Her tennis IQ and unique forehand have always intrigued commentators, but the most impressive element of Riske 2.0's game has been her fighting spirit and athleticism.
Riske was able to get the better on Barty on grass mostly because she isn't bothered by the. Australian's guile and craft. The slice from Barty does not bother her as she more than capable of putting her own backspin on the ball just as well as her oppenent.
The two women are standout examples of intelligent tennis players in an era dominated by power game, and it is always a delight watching them play. Expect a few fireworks on Rod Laver Arena on Sunday.
Prediction: Riske to win in three tight sets.