A gracious Ashleigh Barty offered no excuses after her incredible Grand Slam run came to a halt with a deflating fourth-round Wimbledon exit.
Bidding to become the first Australian woman to make the quarterfinals at the All England Club since Jelena Dokic 19 years ago, Barty fell 3-6 6-2 6-3 on Monday to free-swinging American Alison Riske on No.2 Court.
Unseeded Riske withstood 12 aces from Barty to chalk up her tour-best 14th grass-court victory of the season.
Also exiting the tournament was third seed Karolina Pliskova, who went down to fellow Czech Karolina Muchova 4-6 7-5 13-11 in the next match in the same court.
Pliskova, who led 5-3 in the third, twice served for the match before the stylish Muchova, ranked 68th, sealed victory to advance to her first Grand Slam quarterfinal, where she will play Elina Svitolina.
Eighth seed Svitolina beat Petra Martic 6-4 6-2 while in another result, seventh seed Simona Halep ended the fairytale run of 15-year-old qualifier Coco Gauff thanks to a 6-3 6-3 win on No.1 Court.
In a Centre Court thriller, Johanna Konta held off fast-finishing two-time champion Petra Kvitova 4-6 6-2 6-4 to advance to the Wimbledon quarterfinals for the second time in three years.
Riske’s victory ended Barty’s 15-match winning streak and scuppered the 23-year-old’s hopes of completing a rare French Open-Wimbledon title double.
“Absolutely no regrets,” Barty said.
“We’ve planned our days and prepared as best that we can. Today wasn’t my day.
“I didn’t win a tennis match. It’s not the end of the world. It’s a game. I love playing the game. I do everything in my power to try and win every single tennis match. But that’s not the case.
“It’s disappointing right now. Give me an hour or so, we’ll be all good. The sun’s still going to come up tomorrow.”
An upset looked remote when Barty fired down four aces to start the match before taking the opening set in 32 minutes.
— doublefault28 (@doublefault28) July 8, 2019
Riske was unfazed, calmly working her way into the contest with some fearless hitting from the baseline.
Piling the pressure on Barty with sustained attack and measured forays to the net, Riske broke Barty twice to seize the second set to make a fool of her ranking of No.55 in the world.
Staving off a break point in the fourth game of the deciding set, Riske nabbed another crucial break with a massive forehand winner to surge ahead 5-3, before retaining her poise to clinch a shock victory after one hour and 37 minutes.
A first ever Grand Slam quarter-final awaits…
— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 8, 2019
“You just have to look at her stats on a grass court to show just how dangerous she is. She’s very comfortable on the grass court. It complements her game well,” Barty said.
“In the crunch moments, she came up with her best tennis. When her back is against the wall, she plays really well typically. She did that today. All credit to her.
“She deserves to be in the quarterfinals.”
The American’s maiden quarterfinal will be against 23-time Grand Slam champion and seven-time Wimbledon winner Serena Williams, a 6-2 6-2 winner over Spanish veteran Carla Suarez Navarro.
“Bring it on,” Riske said.
Williams extended her head-to-head record over Suarez Navarro to 7-0 and has never lost more than three games in a single set to the Spaniard.
Also advancing to the last eight at the All England Club were Zhang Shuai – a three-set winner over Dayana Yastremska – and Barbora Strycova, the Czech veteran who recovered from 6-4 5-2 down to beat Elise Mertens.
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