Alison Riske produced a grass court masterclass as she overpowered Conny Perrin to win her first piece of silverware in two years. The American was utterly dominant from the first ball and raced to a 6-2, 6-4 victory in front of a packed Centre Court crowd in Surbiton.
The 27-year-old has been on fire the entire week here on the grass, she has not even dropped a set, and found herself holding match points on the Perrin serve at 5-1 in the second set. The Swiss player is a real fighter and started to claw herself back into the match, winning three games on the bounce to force the #2 seed to serve it out for the second time.
“I definitely backed off a little bit in the first service game, but she hit a couple of great returns,” Riske said about her first attempt to close out the championship. “I told myself when I’d have my chance again that I was going to go for a huge first serve, look to be aggressive and just play as many balls as I need to in that moment.”
The game plan eventually paid dividends as she was able to mentally regroup during the Perrin fightback. When asked what pleased Riske most about the victory she replied, “Not letting the moment get the best of me. I was just proud of my performance emotionally the most.”
The 27-year-old possesses a game that is tailor-made for grass and this showed as no one was able to challenge her all week. Riske plays an aggressive style with her flat ground strokes which easily penetrates on fast courts, “Grass is definitely my favourite surface.”
The American has enjoyed some great success in England; the Surbiton trophy is her third title in this country. In addition to this, she has made the third round of Wimbledon three times. “I love playing here.” Maybe England is starting to become a second home for her.
“Every time I’m here I usually play on grass and it’s one of my favourite times of the year,” the World #83 said, “I’m waiting for my dual citizenship.”
It takes two to make a great final and Conny Perrin certainly played her part in making it as competitive as it was. Riske spoke kindly of her opponent, “She played very well, she does a lot of things that could pose some trouble, especially on grass. Conny moves very well and she’s crafty so I had to counter all of that.”
Conny Perrin has enjoyed a memorable week and she will be rewarded for her courageous efforts. On Monday, she will rise to #163 in the rankings – a new career high. The fighting qualities of the Swiss is what will be in the forefront of the fans who have witnessed her aesthetically pleasing tennis this week, “I know a tennis match is never over, even on match point,” Perrin told me after the final.
The 27-year-old played four three set matches to get to the final – even saving match points in her semifinal against home favourite, Harriet Dart. Fatigue was certainly going to play a small part in this match and Perrin was well aware of that, “The challenge was also to be ready physically because I’ve played so much tennis this week.”
Despite this, the current World #193 was gracious in defeat and applauded the world-class tennis from her opponent, “She’s a great player, she deserves it.” Perrin received a great amount of support and the fans hope to see her back and maybe they will, “To play in front of the people her was really nice.” We will next see Conny Perrin in Manchester, where she will compete in the doubles event.
On the other hand, Alison Riske has quite a heavy schedule ahead where she will play in the Netherlands and Spain before returning to England to compete in Southsea (the week prior to Wimbledon). The American does not have long to celebrate her victory, however, “I’m trying to book a flight [to the Netherlands] so I can at least get there tonight, have a full day there and then hopefully play Tuesday.”
The 2018 Fuzion 100 Surbiton Trophy has come to an end and it was concluded with a fantastic final between Alison Riske and Conny Perrin. The first week of the grass court season has been spectacular. The event has produced many amazing memories and hopefully the tournament can be just as successful in 2019.
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