Former Hilton Head Island resident Alison Riske moved into the Australian Open’s third round with a three-set victory Wednesday over 20th seed Shuai Zheng, finishing with a flourish after her Chinese opponent fought back to force a deciding set.
The former Van der Meer Academy student broke Zheng twice in the final set on the way to a 7-6 (9-7), 4-6, 6-1 triumph that put her in the third round of a Grand Slam event for the first time since Wimbledon in 2014.
Riske, ranked 42nd in the world, advanced to a Friday matchup against Romania’s Sorana Cirstea, herself an upset winner by knocking off 10th seed Carla Suarez Navarro in straight sets. They have met three times previously, with Cirstea prevailing in the last two.
Their last meeting came 2 1/2 years ago in Thailand, when Cirstea won their round-of-16 match in straight sets. Riske captured their only meeting connected to a Grand Slam, winning a U.S. Open qualifier in 2007.