Riske, Rogers Roll
On Wimbledon Day 4
E.J. Crawford | July 6, 2017
Another day, another upset for the American women at Wimbledon 2017. In this case, two upsets.
Alison Riske topped No. 12 seed Kristina Mladenovic, 2-6, 6-4, 6-4, adding to her list of grass-court accomplishments, and Shelby Rogers defeated No. 32 seed Lucie Safarova, 6-7, 6-4, 6-3. Those victories come one day after Riske’s and Rogers’ compatriot Madison Brengle knocked off No. 11 seed and two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova.
Mladenovic entered this year’s Championships on the short list of players with a chance to take home the title, but she struggled throughout the second and third sets against Riske’s flat ground strokes and canny court coverage. The American rebounded from an early break down in the second set, and rallied from 3-2 down in the third set to capture the match.
In all, Riske committed just 11 unforced errors combined in the last two sets, after making nine in the first, and finished with 22 winners against the Frenchwoman.ADVERTISEMENT
With the victory, the 27-year-old Pittsburgh native advances to the third round at Wimbledon for the third time, having also done so in 2013 and 2014, and bolsters her reputation as a tough out on grass. In 2011, Riske staged her international breakthrough by reaching the quarterfinals at the Wimbledon tune-up in Nottingham, and she also reached the semifinals at Nottingham in 2015, the final in 2016 and advanced to the semifinals in Birmingham, England, another Wimbledon tune-up, in 2013.
Like Riske, Rogers bounced back from down a set and a break to oust Safarova. Trailing 3-1 in the second set, the 24-year-old from South Carolina was able to right the ship against the Czech lefty, a Wimbledon semifinalist in 2014, winning nine of the next 11 games to claim the second set and go up 4-1 in the third. She held from there to advance the third round for a second consecutive major.
The task gets no easier for Rogers in the next round. She faces No. 1 seed and 2016 Wimbledon finalist Angelique Kerber. Riske, meantime, has an all-American date with No. 24 seed CoCo Vandeweghe, who advanced Thursday with a dominant 6-4, 6-2 victory over Tatjana Maria of Spain.
In men’s action, on a day in which No. 17 seed Jack Sock and No. 23 John Isner both fell, Jared Donaldson notched one of the biggest victories of his career, downing No. 32 seed Paolo Lorenzi, 6-4, 7-6, 6-7, 6-2. With the win, the 20-year-old Donaldson matches his best-ever showing at a Grand Slam event, previously set at the 2016 US Open.
The U.S. news was not all positive on Thursday, however. In a scary incident, fan favorite, women’s doubles No. 1 and U.S. Fed Cup stalwart Bethanie Mattek-Sands suffered what the WTA termed an “acute knee injury” in the third set of her match against Sorana Cirstea. Mattek-Sands was charging the net when her right knee buckled. She was taken off the court on a stretcher and to the hospital.
Mattek-Sands and her doubles partner, Safarova, were going for their fourth consecutive Grand Slam women’s doubles title at Wimbledon.
Friday kicks off the third round in London, with Brengle, Venus Williams, Sam Querrey and Steve Johnson all in action.
Venus will be attempting to advance to the round of 16 for the 15th time in her Hall-of-Fame career when she takes on rising Japanese star Naomi Osaka, while Brengle will be looking to build on her second-round upset of Kvitova against No. 21 seed Carolina Garcia.
In men’s action, both No. 24 seed Sam Querrey and No. 26 seed Steve Johnson will be aiming to continue the run of U.S. upsets when they take on No. 12 seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and No. 7 seed Marin Cilic, respectively.