Alison Riske's summer came to an end Monday, but what a way to end it. A loss at Arthur Ashe Stadium, America's show court, in the fourth round of the U.S. Open just wasn't all that bad.
Riske, with Serena Williams the remaining Americans in the field, fell to veteran Daniela Hantuchova, 6-3, 5-7, 6-2. Riske, a wild-card entry into the Open, also made the third round at Wimbledon.
"It was a great summer for me," said the 23-year-old Riske, a Pittsburgh native. "To follow up Wimbledon with something else big was really, really cool. I look forward to playing in more tournaments, playing against the better players. I think that is what is going to be great for me."
After losing the first set to the proficient 30-year-old Hantuchova, who served a total of 15 aces, Riske broke back in the second set to make it 4-4 when the rain came. It was 12:20 in the afternoon. They started playing again at 4:41.
"I was thanking God that it actually rained because I needed a break to just kind of regroup," Riske said. "I kind of treated it as my second time on Ashe because the first time was really overwhelming."
During the long delay, she talked with coach Yves Boulais and they decided she should try to change things up on her service return and get inside the baseline. The tactic worked, briefly, and she got another break of Hantuchova's serve to take the second set.
It didn't go so well in the third.
"I was going to have to try something because I sure as heck wasn't going to get anywhere with her serving like that," Riske said. "I tried to do something a little bit different. Can't say it was all that successful . . . She's a seasoned player. She played ball today."
For the fifth straight year, there will be an Italian in the quarterfinals -- two of them, and they will face each other. Flavia Pennetta beat Simona Halep, 6-2, 7-6 (3), to reach the quarterfinals for the fourth time. Roberta Vinci beat countrywoman Camila Giorgi, 6-4, 6-2. Now there is the guarantee of an Italian in the semifinals.
Pennetta and Vinci emerge from the Italian Quarter, that section of the draw in which five of the six Italian women in the tournament were grouped. Pennetta took out the highest-ranked Italian, No. 5 Sara Errani, in the second round. Vinci beat Karin Knapp in the third round.
Pennetta is emerging from a difficult season in which she is recovering from right wrist surgery performed at the end of 2012 that required a seven-month layoff. In 2009, Pennetta reached No. 10 in the world, the first Italian woman to do so. She now is ranked No. 81, but will break into at least the top 50 now that she has made the quarters.
The Victoria Azarenka-Ana Ivanovic match, which was to be second at Ashe, was postponed until the first match Tuesday. The USTA, in a statement, said its priority was to finish the men's matches in the face of unpredictable weather. Hantuchova will face the winner in the quarterfinals.