Barty on guard against Wimbledon ambush at hands of former conqueror

All the hype is for an Ashleigh Barty-Serena Williams Wimbledon quarter-final showdown, but the blockbuster is no fait accompli.

While Barty is a warm favourite to take down unseeded Alison Riske in the fourth round on Monday night, Australia's world No.1 has good reason not to be counting her chickens just yet.

In a twist that has the Barty camp on guard against another ambush, the French Open champion finds herself up against the in-form American who three years ago ended Barty's incredible comeback tournament.

It was on the Eastbourne grass courts in 2016 after Barty had won six straight matches as the world No.9999 to surge into the semi-finals.


Then Riske struck, wiping Barty out 7-6 (7-4), 7-5 in their only career encounter to date.

Three years on and Riske, with a tour-topping 13 grasscourt wins in the past month, again poses a serious threat to Barty's title hopes.

The winner of Wimbledon lead-up events in Surbiton and 's-Hertogenbosch, where she upstaged world No.4 Kiki Bertens in the final, Riske arrived at the All England Club brimming with belief.

And the world No.55 hasn't disappointed, removing seeded stars Donna Vekic and Belinda Bencic en route to the last 16 of a grand slam for only the second time – and first time since the 2013 US Open.

Barty can "vividly" remember her meeting with Riske at Eastbourne.

"Whenever Alison's back was against the wall, she produced her best tennis," the top seed said.

Momentum: Ash Barty winds up in her third-round defeat of Harriet Dart of Britain.

Momentum: Ash Barty winds up in her third-round defeat of Harriet Dart of Britain.Credit:AP

"I think that's no secret. You ask any opponent that plays Alison, she's up for the fight, makes you work for every single point.

"It will be really important for me to go out there and try and bring my variety, take my opportunities when I get them.

"Also I know she loves playing on the grasscourt. She's going to make me play a million balls. I have to be at my best."

Barty has been on court for barely three hours in reaching the fourth round without dropping a set, but feels ready for a second-week assault.

"It'll always nice to have quick matches," she said.

"It's nice to know that I can go in and execute and get my job done."Read More – Source

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