Alison Riske moved one step away from her second career WTA title Friday, advancing to the Shenzhen Open final for the second straight year with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Italy’s Camila Giorgi.
The former Van der Meer Academy student, who scored her first win over a top-5 opponent one day earlier when she knocked off world No.3 Agnieszka Radwanska, advanced to a title match against Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic. Siniakova notched her second key upset of the week by defeating world No.10 Johanna Konta, 1-6, 6-4, 6-4.
Riske, now 39th in the world rankings, fended off an early baseline onslaught from Giorgi, surviving a couple of break points before turning the tables in the seventh game. That seemed to turn the tide, as Riske thwarted Giorgi’s baseline power by chasing down most of the Italian’s shots.
“Because she hits so hard and plays so aggressively, you just have to react a lot of the time,” Riske told an interviewer. “Whether that be slice, a high ball, whatever that may be to get the ball back in play – and hope for the best sometimes.”
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Riske’s lone WTA Tour crown also came in China, winning the Tianjin Open in 2014. She has reached three other finals, including a loss to Radwanska last year in Shenzhen.
“Anytime there is a final, I’m just happy to be there,” she said. “Wherever it is, I’ll take it!”
Siniakova, who beat second-seeded Simona Halep in the second round, will be going for her first career title. However, she prevailed in her only previous encounter against Riske, winning in the quarterfinals of last year’s Tokyo International.
Jeff Shain contributed to this report.