Alison Riske-Amritraj is often not one of the first names that come to mind when you think of American women’s tennis. However, the 32-year-old put together a strong run at this year’s US Open before losing to Caroline Garcia 6-4, 6-1 on Sunday.
While she may have had a few breaks go her way in the draw, Riske-Amritraj took advantage of the opportunities in front of her and advanced to the Round of 16 for the first time at the US Open since 2013 and the first time at any Grand Slam since the 2020 Australian Open.
In truth, Alison Riske-Amritraj simply ran into a buzzsaw. The Frenchwoman has been on fire this summer, going 35-15 on the year and winning the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati prior to the US Open. In that tournament, she defeated 3rd ranked Maria Sakkari, 7th ranked Aryna Sabalenka, and 8th ranked Jessica Pegula.
However, Garcia had been struggling in the early part of the year and was looking for answers.
“I was not playing good at all, trust me,” she said. “At one moment you just say to yourself, You have to go for it. You miss, you miss, but you have to do something. You have to change, you have to find a way to improve.”
So the Frenchwoman tried to change up her style of play.
“I was practicing to be aggressive, to move forward, but I had some issues to do it on court in matches. I went for it. I didn’t know if it was going to work, but I believe and we believe with the team that it was a good way to do so and improve from that point.”
It’s safe to say that it’s worked out. She dropped just one set in the entire tournament in Cincinnati and was coming into the US Open on quite a high.
“To get wins, definitely helps to be happy, to know which way you have to play, to be healthy, it’s a lot of positives to take from,” she explained. “You know, it’s a challenge every day, and it’s a reward to be here today, and I’m grateful for all the hard work we did.”
The US Open has been more of the same for Garcia, who also reached the round of 16 at Wimbledon. She has yet to lose a set, and the 6-4 set against Alison Riske-Amritraj is actually the closest anybody has come to taking a set off of her.
Much like she has for most of the tournament, Garcia controlled the match with her serve and hounded her opponent’s service game. Despite only connecting on 62% of her first serves, she won 75% of the points on her first serve and wasn’t broken once during the match.
On the other hand, Garcia converted on three of four break points against Riske-Amritraj and won 43% of her receiving points to just 35% from the American.
The 29th-seeded Riske-Amritraj didn’t really play poorly either. She made only 11 unforced errors and hit 65% of her first serves in. She just simply didn’t have the level to match Garcia. In any long rally, the advantage clearly went to the Frenchwoman, who hit 30 winners on the day to just seven from the American.
At the end of the day, although the result didn’t go Riske-Amritraj’s way, she can hold her head high. While much of the focus in American tennis is on young stars like Coco Gauff and Jessica Pegula, the veteran remained everybody that she’s still here and not planning to go anywhere without a fight.
Garcia will move on to face the winner of Coco Gauff in the quarter-finals.
“Yeah, I’m super excited actually to play Coco in U.S., in New York, quarterfinal of slam, it’s great,” said Garcia after the match. “She already have some experience with the final in Roland Garros. She’s a tough player, doing really good this year, very consistent, still very young. But, yeah, it’s a great match to play, quarter-final of a slam is a battle, is a challenge, and I will get myself ready for it.”
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