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US Open 2019: Alison Riske earns reward in three-set win over Garbine Muguruza

2019 US Open - Day 2
2019 US Open - Day 2
Rudy Martinez
Modified 27 Aug 2019

Alison Riske waited six years to get a win again at the US Open Tuesday. The American who went 0-5 in first-round matches in New York ended her slump with a three-set win over Garbine Muguruza 2-6, 6-1, 6-3 on Grandstand court. The victory that came with plenty of support at the Billy Jean King National Tennis Center gave her the energy to pull together a strong performance against the 25th seed.

The two clashed for the fourth time in two years with their first Grand Slam meeting arriving in New York. Both spent the remainder of their break after losing the first round in Cincinnati to prepare for a good run. With the advantage of having the home crowd on her side, Riske leaves the possibility of not only advancing to the next round but evening the series with the Spaniard who recently let go of Sam Sumyk as her coach. With the change of support not immediately showing progress for Muguruza, her needing a win after three months of not having one was a major priority.

The two got off to a slow start where Muguruza trailed in her service game but managed to force deuce and hold. Riske also fell behind with the ball in the second and forced deuce but had to stop two break point opportunities from the Spaniard before getting her attempt on the third break. With 14 minutes elapsed the two sped up with the American eyeing a break to love but denied that by Muguruza getting on the board. The Spaniard forced deuce but blew the break point and watched Riske seal the victory.

Muguruza broke back to level at two games each before linking together the hold in the fifth. Achieving the double break gave her a two-game buffer on the American before she found some ease to run away with the set. After her shutout of Riske in the seventh, Muguruza put together a defensive attack in the eighth to take the opening set in 40 minutes. The four double faults late in the set helped the 24th seed while recording a dozen winners to help her along. Carrying the edge on Riske left her with every chance to stay focused and march towards the result she wanted.

Instead of that happening, the American took her chance to have a similar run of success and worked hard for it right into the second set. In another highly contested start, Muguruza was denied an easy win in the first being forced to deuce by Riske. She produced five attempts to get the break over the Spaniard which came after six breaks. Muguruza broke her back but again couldn’t get it done in the early stages of the second despite only taking three breaks.

It would be the only victory she achieved as Riske captured the double break that turned the tide. The American consolidated in the fourth and briskly reached a 5-1 hold with Muguruza on the verge of going the distance. In all her efforts to gain a hold since the seventh game of the opening set, Riske forced her to deuce and gained two set points where on the third break, the win came for the 29-year-old to end 50 minutes. The unforced errors were high on both sides but with very little winners coming from the Spaniard, Riske had the leverage necessary to continue her dominance.

With her opponent fatigued and out of ideas, she went along for a ride she had no control over. Despite breaking Riske in the opening game, the American went on to take the next four straight with Muguruza underperforming on both sides of the ball. Ending a six-game slump on service, Muguruza clinched a hold in the sixth but was down 2-5 with the American eyeing the match.

The Spaniard made sure to hold for a second time in the set but with the ball in Riske’s hands the need to fight stood as a big challenge. Riske scored a winner followed by her second ace that led to the Spaniard losing a good challenge on a ball called long. It was over for the 25-year-old who went down on a forehand error that gave Riske a long-awaited victory that took two hours and five minutes to achieve.

With a terrific push for glory on court, the 29-year-old moves into the second round for the first time in six attempts where the challenge of facing Belinda Bencic would be answered with all her skills Thursday.

Published 27 Aug 2019, 23:13 IST
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