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Alison Riske is latest young American to pull off U.S. Open upset

August 31, 2013|By Diane Pucin
  • Alison Riske reacts after beating Petra Kvitova in a third-round match at the U.S. Open on Saturday.
Alison Riske reacts after beating Petra Kvitova in a third-round match… (Julio Cortez / Associated…)

NEW YORK -- Alison Riske, an unseeded 23-year-old from Pittsburgh, showed no nerves but plenty of big ground strokes in upsetting seventh-seeded and former Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, 6-3, 6-0, in a third-round match at the U.S. Open on Saturday.

Riske is part of a large group of young American women making their presence felt at the Grand Slam event, including 20-year-old Sloane Stephens, who will play top-seed Serena Williams Sunday in the fourth round. There was also 17-year-old Victoria Duval, who eliminated U.S. Open champion Samantha Stosur in the first round; 23-year-old Jamie Hampton, who lost to Stephens on Friday; and 21-year-old Christina McHale, who played 13th-seeded and former world No. 1 Ana Ivanovic tough before losing 6-4, 5-7, 6-4 in 2 hours, 20 minutes Saturday.

"It was really emotional for me," Riske said of the win over Kvitova. "It's just really cool because I feel like I'm playing within myself.  I'm not doing anything crazy.  It just feels really comfortable.  It's exciting."

Riske celebrated by hitting balls into the stand and squealing with excitement. Kvitova, who suffers from allergies, always has trouble keeping up her stamina on U.S. hard courts.

McHale, from Teaneck, N.J., who stays at home during the Open, saw her ranking drop below 100 this year after she missed much of last season with mononucleosis. McHale has said it's taken her almost until now to rebuild her strength and stamina.

Kvitova said it was more than allergies that bothered her Saturday.

"Unfortunately, I was lying in bed yesterday and I had a fever, so I didn't come to the site Friday," Kvitova said. "I didn't even come to the site. My body didn't help me today to move a little bit. Unfortunately I tried to play, tried to fight. But my body wouldn't let me fight."

Riske, who said she carries a small blanket with her for security, said she would like to put western Pennsylvania on the map for something besides football.

"It's just really cool to see hard work be put together. It's been really cool for me."

The tennis coverage was interrupted on CBS on Saturday afternoon when President Obama's live statement on Syria sent viewers scrambling to find the channel, CBSSports Network, a channel on a sports package many don't receive.

The television interruption came when second-seeded Victoria Azarenka had lost a first set to Frenchwoman Alize Cornet 7-6, 2-3.

Men's No. 2 seed Rafael Nadal is up next at Arthur Ashe Stadium.


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