Barty finds title bid is Riske business

Alison Riske of the US celebrates winning her fourth round match against Australia’s Ashleigh Barty. — Reuters

LONDON: World number one Ashleigh Barty paid credit to her last 16 conqueror Alison Riske but admitted the 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 defeat was “tough to swallow” even as Rafael Nadal reached the quarterfinals for the seventh time on Monday as the evergreen 30-somethings of men’s tennis threatened to take a stranglehold at the All England Club. The 23-year-old Australian, who could lose her number one ranking to the Czech Republic’s Karolina Pliskova, looked on course to keep her hopes up of becoming the first Australian women’s Wimbledon champion since Evonne Goolagong Cawley won her second crown in 1980 after taking the first set.

However, her American opponent stormed back and Barty, who had strolled through the first week without a problem, had no answer. “It is a tough one to swallow but I lost to a better player,” said Barty. “When her back is against the wall, she plays really well typically.” Barty, who was the first Australian woman to be ranked world number one since Goolagong Cawley, said overall she was ecstatic at the journey she had been on this year, winning the French Open and getting to the top of the rankings. “Overall it’s been a hell of a trip,” she said.

Teenage sensation Coco Gauff’s Wimbledon fairytale came to an end on Monday, losing to Romania’s former world number one Simona Halep 6-3, 6-3 in the last 16. The 15-year-old American saved three match points, but was simply out-played by her more experienced opponent. However, Gauff, who was playing her seventh match in a fortnight having come through qualifying, takes her leave having also improved her ranking markedly from 313 and announced herself as a future Grand Slam contender. — AFP