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RISKE FIRST INTO NOTTINGHAM QFS

2015-6-11


NOTTINGHAM, England - No.5 seed Alison Riske secured the first quarterfinal berth at this year's Aegon Open Nottingham with a straight set win over Mirjana Lucic-Baroni on Wednesday.

Traditionally, Riske has enjoyed herself on grass and looked in her element on the surface from the very first point. After taking a near-flawless first set, the American encountered sterner resistance in the second, before eventually coming through, 6-3, 6-4.

"The way she hits the ball, especially on grass, is something else," Riske said. "I just kept fighting, kept handling my service games well and that was pretty much all that I could do."

A couple of summers ago, the decision was made to add an extra week between the conclusion of the French Open and the start of Wimbledon, much to the delight of grass court devotee Riske.

"Whoever made the decision, I will personally go and hug them and thank them," Riske, who has twice reached the semifinals on the grass of Birmingham, said. "Hopefully they can add another one in the coming years!"

Riske, who attended the tournament under its previous guise as an ITF Circuit event, was equally effusive in her praise for the courts. "I think every year I've come here, the courts have been fantastic. It plays very well - it's as good a grass court as I've ever played on."

Also advancing to the quarterfinals was WTA Rising Star Lauren Davis, who battled past Magda Linette, 5-7, 7-6(13), 6-2. After surviving a tough opening match against Ajla Tomljanovic, Davis came even closer to defeat against Linette, saving eight match points in their near-three-hour epic.

"I had eight match points against me, which is really insane, but I never stopped believing and tried to stay in the moment," Davis said. "I believed in myself, I believed I could win and that fighting spirit just comes naturally to me."

And Davis was not the only player to come back from the brink. In the day's only other completed second round match, Monica Niculescu saved five match points on her way to a 2-6, 7-5, 7-5 victory over Olga Govortsova.



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