Saturday, August 3, 2019 – Alison Riske plays Carol Zhao in a qualifying match for Rogers Cup presented by National Bank at the Aviva Centre in Toronto, Ontario. (Jared Wickerham/Tennis Canada)
It’s been quite the month for American Alison Riske.
The World No. 37 recently got married, just two weeks after reaching her first-ever Grand Slam quarter-final at the All-England Club. She accomplished the latter by defeating World No.1 and reigning French Open champion Ashleigh Barty.
Fast forward to Saturday, playing in her first match since Wimbledon, Riske scored a 6-2, 6-1 victory over Canadian Carol Zhao to advance in qualifying.
Early on, it looked as it might be a big day for Zhao. The 24 year old from Richmond Hill scored an early break in the first set, before Riske bounced back in a big way. The American won six straight games to close out the first set. It was part of a stretch that saw Riske take 12 of the last 13 games. She’ll now face Varvara Lepchenko for a spot in the main draw.
Zhao was one of eight Canadians who failed to advance during the first day at Rogers Cup presented by National Bank. Gabriela Dabrowski was among that group. The Ottawa native lost a tense three-setter to Russia’s Anastasia Potapova 6-4, 3-6, 6-3. Dabrowski, however, is far from done in Toronto. The WTA’s World No. 10 doubles player will compete in the women’s doubles event at Rogers Cup later in the week.
Similar to Zhao, Carson Branstine seemed to be in command of her qualifying match in the early going. The Canadian jumped up to a 3-0 lead in the first set. Before her Romanian opponent, Mihaela Buzarnescu, rallied from behind to claim the match 7-6 (4), 6-3. Immediately after that, on National Bank Grandstand court, Francoise Abanda suffered a similar fate – losing 6-4, 6-3 to Ons Jabeur.
Meanwhile, 18-year-old Iga Swiatek advanced thanks to a straight sets victory against American Shelby Rogers 6-4, 7-5. Earlier this year, Swiatek became the second player born in the 2000s to reach the second week of a Grand Slam, thanks to an appearance in the round of 16 at the French Open.