Alison Riske

Alison Riske, also known by her married name Alison Riske-Amritraj,[2] (/ˈrɪsk/ RISK;[3] born July 3, 1990) is an American professional tennis player. She reached her career-high singles ranking of world No. 18 on November 4, 2019 and won her first WTA Tour title in October 2014 at the Tianjin Open.

Alison Riske
Riske WM19 (12) (48521742281).jpg
Country (sports) United States
ResidenceAtlanta, Georgia, United States
Born (1990-07-03) July 3, 1990 (age 30)
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States
Height5 ft 8 in (1.73 m)
Turned pro2009
PlaysRight-handed
(two-handed backhand)
CoachYves Boulais
Billy Heiser[1]
Prize moneyUS$5,024,549
Singles
Career record373–293 (56.0%)
Career titles2
Highest rankingNo. 18 (November 4, 2019)
Current rankingNo. 23 (September 14, 2020)
Grand Slam Singles results
Australian Open4R (2020)
French Open2R (2014)
WimbledonQF (2019)
US Open4R (2013)
Doubles
Career record83–120 (40.9%)
Career titles0
Highest rankingNo. 40 (January 13, 2020)
Current rankingNo. 70 (September 14, 2020)
Grand Slam Doubles results
Australian OpenSF (2019)
French Open3R (2014)
Wimbledon2R (2014, 2019)
US OpenQF (2020)
Team competitions
Fed CupW (2017) 1–3 (25.0%)
Last updated on: September 14, 2020.

She has won two WTA singles titles, as well as nine singles titles and one doubles title on the ITF Women's Circuit. Her best singles performances at Grand Slam tournaments include reaching the fourth round of the Australian Open in 2020, the quarterfinals at Wimbledon in 2019 (where she defeated world No. 1 and reigning French Open champion Ashleigh Barty in the fourth round) and the fourth round of the US Open in 2013. Despite having not won a WTA doubles title, Riske has had success in doubles at the Grand Slam level, reaching the 2019 Australian Open semifinals with Jennifer Brady and the 2020 US Open quarterfinals with Gabriela Dabrowski, reaching a career-high ranking of No. 40 on January 13, 2020. She has had numerous career wins over current and former top 10 players such as Barty, Elina Svitolina, Sloane Stephens, Petra Kvitová, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Vera Zvonareva, Agnieszka Radwańska, Kiki Bertens, Naomi Osaka, Timea Bacsinszky, Belinda Bencic, CoCo Vandeweghe, Flavia Pennetta, Sara Errani, Eugenie Bouchard, Garbiñe Muguruza, Carla Suárez Navarro, Angelique Kerber, Kiki Bertens, Kristina Mladenovic, Caroline Garcia, Daria Kasatkina, and Julia Görges.

Personal lifeEdit

The daughter of Al and Carol Riske,[4] she first played tennis at the age of three, after her dad took her out to hit.[5] Her father worked in the Secret Service and later as an FBI investigator, while her mother was a school teacher, but both are now retired.[6] Her sister, Sarah, is also a tennis player who played for Vanderbilt and had a brief professional career,[5] reaching as high as No. 372.[7] Her brother, Dan, played college tennis for West Liberty State,[8] and is now an accountant.[6]

Educated by the Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School,[8] she played the fall of 2006 for Peters Township High School, where she led the girls' tennis team to the Pennsylvania State championship, and won the championship in singles.[4] The following year, she won the USTA National Collegiate Clay Court Championship to earn a spot in the US Open qualifying draw, where she won her first match over Sorana Cîrstea before losing to Julie Ditty. She also won the ITA Summer Claycourt Championship and finished second at the USTA National Hardcourts that year. In early 2008, she earned the No. 1 ranking in her country in Girls' 18s competition.[9] She got her first taste of the professional circuit later that year, when she served as a hitting partner for the United States Fed Cup team in their semifinal against Russia.[10]

In her early career, Riske was coached by Janice Irwin, coach of the girls' tennis team at nearby Upper St. Clair High School.[11] She later began working with Yves Boulais, the husband of former professional Patricia Hy-Boulais, alongside her sister, Sarah. She briefly trained at the USTA training center in Boca Raton, Florida, as well as Van der Meer Tennis Academy in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. She trained with Yves Boulais at the end of 2012.

In late July 2019, just a few weeks after reaching her first Grand Slam quarterfinal at Wimbledon, Riske married her long-term partner Stephen Amritraj (nephew of Vijay Amritraj and son of Anand Amritraj) in her hometown Pittsburgh.[2]

Professional careerEdit

2009–11: Early yearsEdit

 
Alison Riske in action during the 2010 Bank of the West Classic

Riske came into 2009 ranked 895 in the world.[12] A senior in the class of 2009, she had signed a letter of intent to play college tennis at Vanderbilt University.[9]

In May, Riske began a run on the ITF Circuit. As a qualifier, she reached the semifinals of a pro tournament in Indian Harbour Beach. In June, she reached the finals of a tournament in Hilton Head, and again as a qualifier, reached the semifinals of a tournament in Boston. Her form continued as she reached another semifinal, this time in Atlanta.

By the time of the US Open, her ranking had improved to 344, over 500 places from when she started the year. She was granted a wild card into the qualifying tournament of the US Open, but fell in three sets to Yulia Fedossova. Before the US Open, Riske made the decision to give up her scholarship to Vanderbilt University and turn professional largely in part due to her breakthrough year.[13] Riske continued her form to the end of the year where she broke through at an ITF tournament in Troy, Alabama. Again as a qualifier, she defeated compatriot Christina McHale to take the title there.

She finished the year ranked at No. 232.[12]

Riske began 2010, her first full season as a professional, by reaching the semifinals of an ITF event in Rancho Mirage. She played in several qualifying tournaments for WTA events with little success until June, when she qualified for the Aegon Classic, a grass-court event, and went on to have her professional breakthrough, earning wins over Aleksandra Wozniak, Anna Chakvetadze and Yanina Wickmayer before losing in three sets to Maria Sharapova in the semifinals. This led to her being offered a main draw wildcard to Wimbledon,[6] her Grand Slam debut, where she lost in a rematch against Wickmayer in the first round.

In October, Riske completed an impressive run of winning a 75K, a 50K and a 50K in three straight weeks.

In 2011, Riske reached the finals of 50K in Indian Harbour Beach, Florida. A few weeks later, she had success on grass reaching the semifinals of Nottingham and quarterfinals of the WTA event Aegon Classic. Riske completed 2011 with a successful run in Europe winning in Joué-lès-Tours and Limoges, and finishing the year ranked 136.

2013: Breakthrough year, fourth-round appearance at US OpenEdit

At the US Open, Riske caused a big upset when she defeated former Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitová in the third round.[14] She lost in the following round to former world No. 5, Daniela Hantuchová.

2014: Cracking the top 50 and first WTA titleEdit

Riske reached the quarterfinals at the Hobart International, beating Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Casey Dellacqua. In the Australian Open, Riske upset No. 23 seed Elena Vesnina, and made it to the third round before losing to No. 9 seed, Angelique Kerber. At the WTA Premier Birmingham, she reached the third round after beating Lyudmyla Kichenok in the first round and her twin sister Nadiia Kichenok in the second round.

At the inaugural Tianjin Open in October, Riske was seeded sixth and defeated Çağla Büyükakçay, Olga Govortsova, Varvara Lepchenko and Zheng Saisai en route to the final, without dropping a set. She proceeded to win her maiden WTA title, defeating 17-year-old Swiss Belinda Bencic. After the match, Riske said: "It's a huge accomplishment for me to win my first WTA title and I was here [in China] by myself, which made it even more special, just to know that I was able to do it by myself. I hope I can keep up the momentum and try to compete every week as best as I can."[15][16][17]

2016: Three WTA finalsEdit

 
Riske at the 2016 Wimbledon

Riske reached the final of the Shenzhen Open in January losing there to Agnieszka Radwańska in straight sets. She also reached her first career final on grass at the Aegon Open in Nottingham where she lost to Karolína Plíšková. She then reached her third final of the year at the Tianjin Open, where she won her first title back in 2014. Along the way, she earned one of the biggest wins of her career by defeating two-time Grand Slam champion, former world No. 2, and then-world No. 8 Svetlana Kuznetsova in the semifinals. However, she lost in straight sets to Chinese home favorite, former top 15 singles player, and former doubles world No. 1 Peng Shuai in straight sets.

2019: Second WTA title, quarterfinals at Wimbledon, top 20 breakthroughEdit

 
Riske at the 2019 French Open

In January, Riske found success in doubles at the Australian Open, reaching the semifinals with Jennifer Brady (they scored two upsets along the way, beating the fourth seeds Nicole Melichar and Květa Peschke in the third round and the seventh seeds, sisters Chan Hao-ching and Latisha Chan, in the quarterfinals) before falling to the second seeds and defending champions Tímea Babos and Kristina Mladenovic. She also reached the final in Shenzhen for the third time in four years, but lost to world No. 13 Aryna Sabalenka, her sixth consecutive loss in a WTA tournament final. However, she managed to change her poor luck in finals at the beginning of the grass court season, when she reached her second final of the year at the Libéma Open. After being bageled in the opening set, and facing five championship points in the second, Riske managed a comeback to upset home favorite and world No. 4, Kiki Bertens, in three sets. This was Riske's second WTA singles title, her first on grass, and her first in over four and a half years. Her victory also catapulted her back into the top 50 for the first time since September 2017.

Despite the victory, Riske faced adversity with being placed in a difficult draw at Wimbledon. She caused a minor upset in the first round by defeating the 22nd seed Donna Vekić in three sets, followed by another three set win over the young Serb Ivana Jorović. In the third round, Riske came back from a set down in the final set, to upset the 13th seed Belinda Bencic to reach the second week at a Grand Slam for the first time since the 2013 US Open. She then recorded the biggest victory of her career by defeating the newly crowned world No. 1 and French Open champion Ashleigh Barty, who was on a 15-match winning streak, in three sets (coming back from a set down for the third time in four matches) to advance to her first Grand Slam quarterfinal, where she played the eleventh seed Serena Williams. Despite pushing the 23-time Grand Slam champion and former No. 1 to a third set, Riske ultimately succumbed to Williams, putting an end to the best Grand Slam run of her career. Nonethless, her performance at Wimbledon catapulted Riske back into the top 40 for the first time in two years.

At Toronto, her first event following Wimbledon, Riske defeated Maria Sakkari in the first round before falling to Karolína Plíšková in three tight sets. At Cincinnati, Riske lost in the first round to Maria Sharapova in two tight sets. At the US Open, Riske defeated Garbiñe Muguruza in the first round before exiting in the second round to Jeļena Ostapenko. At Zhenghzou, Riske defeated Angelique Kerber in the first round, before losing to Zheng Saisai in the second. At Osaka, Riske lost to Nicole Gibbs in the first round, before entering Wuhan. Once there, Riske defeated Kateryna Kozlova, Monica Puig and Wang Qiang, before upsetting world No. 3 Elina Svitolina in her first ever Premier 5 quarterfinal, then world No. 7 Petra Kvitová in the semifinals. In the final, she lost to reigning champion Aryna Sabalenka, but this nevertheless was her best result in a WTA Premier tournament. Following Wuhan, Riske entered Beijing, where she defeated Ajla Tomljanović in the second round before falling to eventual champion Naomi Osaka. This brought her singles ranking into the top 20 for the first time. By virtue of her performance throughout the year, Riske qualified for the WTA Elite Trophy for the first time in her career, where she was drawn in the Camellia Group. Riske lost both of her matches to compatriot Sofia Kenin and Karolína Muchová, and failed to progress into the semifinals. Riske ended the year ranked No. 18, her career-high ranking.

2020Edit

Riske opened her season at the Brisbane International, where she fell to eventual champion Karolína Plíšková in the quarterfinals. She then competed at the Australian Open, where she was seeded 18th, her first time being seeded at a Grand Slam tournament. She dismissed the Chinese youngsters Wang Yafan and Zhu Lin in the first two rounds, then beat Julia Görges to advance to the fourth round in Melbourne for the first time. In a rematch with world No. 1 Ashleigh Barty, Riske was unable to replicate her success from Wimbledon, falling to the Aussie in three sets. She then lost early in Dubai and Doha before the tour was shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Riske made her return to the tour with a first round loss at the Western & Southern Open. Despite being ranked 20th, she was seeded 13th at the US Open due to several of the top 10 players pulling out over safety concerns. She defeated Tatjana Maria in the first round, but was upset by compatriot and world No. 128 Ann Li in the second. In doubles, Riske partnered up with Gabriela Dabrowski, the pair made it to the quarterfinals where they lost to Asia Muhammad and Taylor Townsend.

Career statisticsEdit

Key
W  F  SF QF #R RR Q# A NH
(W) Won; (F) finalist; (SF) semifinalist; (QF) quarterfinalist; (#R) rounds 4, 3, 2, 1; (RR) round-robin stage; (Q#) qualification round; (A) absent; (NH) not held. SR=strike rate (events won/competed)
To avoid confusion and double counting, these charts are updated at the conclusion of a tournament or when the player's participation has ended.

Grand Slam singles performance timelineEdit

Tournament 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 SR W–L Win %
Grand Slam tournaments[18]
Australian Open A A A A 1R 1R Q3 3R 1R 1R 3R 1R 1R 4R 0 / 9 7–9 44%
French Open A A A Q1 A Q1 Q1 2R 1R 1R 1R 1R 1R 1R 0 / 7 1–7 13%
Wimbledon A A A 1R 1R Q2 3R 3R 1R 1R 3R 2R QF NH 0 / 9 11–9 55%
US Open Q2 A Q1 Q1 1R Q1 4R 1R 1R 1R 1R 1R 2R 2R 0 / 9 5–9 36%
Win–Loss 0–0 0–0 0–0 0–1 0–3 0–1 5–2 5–4 0–4 0–4 4–4 1–4 5–4 4–3 0 / 34 24–34 41%
Career statistics[19]
Titles 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 Career total: 2
Finals 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 3 1 1 3 0 Career total: 9
Year-end ranking 627 895 222 118 135 179 57 45 97 41 70 63 18 $5,035,708

Grand Slam doubles performance timelineEdit

Tournament 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 SR W–L
Australian Open A A A 3R 1R A 1R 1R SF 3R 0 / 6 7–6
French Open A A A 3R 1R A 2R 1R 1R 2R 0 / 6 4–6
Wimbledon A A A 2R 1R 1R 1R 1R 2R NH 0 / 6 2–6
US Open 1R A 2R 2R 1R 2R 1R 1R 1R QF 0 / 9 5–9
Win–Loss 0–1 0–0 1–1 5–4 0–4 1–2 1–4 0–4 4–4 6–3 0 / 27 19–27

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Alison Riske". add2performance.com.
  2. ^ a b Watch: American tennis star Alison Riske grooves to Bollywood song at her wedding with Stephen Amritraj 23 July 2019
  3. ^ Women's Tennis Association (WTA) 2019 Media Guide (pronunciations on page 34). Retrieved July 5, 2019
  4. ^ a b "Local Girl at US Open". Peters Township Magazine. Archived from the original on 2009-12-17. Retrieved 2010-10-06.
  5. ^ a b "Alison Riske interview". collegeandjuniortennis.com. Retrieved 2010-10-06.
  6. ^ a b c "Getting To Know... Alison Riske". Sony Ericsson WTA Tour. Archived from the original on 24 June 2010. Retrieved 2010-06-22.
  7. ^ "Sarah Riske". Sony Ericsson WTA Tour. Retrieved 2010-10-06.
  8. ^ a b Adamski, Chris (2008-11-23). "Washington Sunday: Peters' Riske chooses Vanderbilt". Pittsburgh Post Gazette. Retrieved 2010-10-06.
  9. ^ a b "Riske Signs NLI with Vanderbilt". Vanderbilt Athletics. Archived from the original on 2013-01-20. Retrieved 2009-12-26.
  10. ^ "Peters Township's tennis star weighing future options". Pittsburgh Live. Archived from the original on 2012-09-07. Retrieved 2010-10-06.
  11. ^ Brink, Bill (2010-06-16). "Peters Township's Riske ready to tackle Wimbledon". Pittsburgh Post Gazette. Retrieved 2010-10-22.
  12. ^ a b "Alison Riske". Women's Tennis Association(WTA). Retrieved May 29, 2015.
  13. ^ Adamski, Chris (2009-09-03). "Turning pro is a Riske business". Pittsburgh Post Gazette. Retrieved 2009-12-26.
  14. ^ 2013 US Open – Young Americans Alison Riske and Christina McHale showcase talent at US Open, ESPN, 31 August 2013
  15. ^ "Alison Riske wins 1st WTA title". ESPN Tennis. October 12, 2014. Retrieved October 19, 2014.
  16. ^ "Tianjin Open: Alison Riske beats Belinda Bencic to win maiden WTA title in China". Sky Sports. October 12, 2014. Retrieved October 19, 2014.
  17. ^ "Alison Riske wins her first WTA title by denying Belinda Bencic in Tianjin". Tennis World. October 12, 2014. Retrieved October 19, 2014.
  18. ^ "Grand Slam performances - Singles & Doubles".
  19. ^ "Player & Career Overview".

External linksEdit