Alison Riske stuns top seed Agnieszka Radwanska at Shenzhen Open
American now takes on Italy’s Camila Giorgi while Britain’s Johanna Konta plays Katerina Siniakova in the semi-finals
American world No 39 Alison Riske stunned Polish top seed Agnieszka Radwanska in the Shenzhen Open on Thursday, sending her careering out of the WTA tournament 6-2, 3-6, 6-0.
Riske raced to a 5-0 lead in the first set of their quarter-final before Radwanska, the world No 3, offered brief resistance, breaking her opponent back once.
The defending champion secured the second set 6-3, but the decider was a demolition that belied the difference in their rankings, with Radwanska winning only six points.
“I think she was really playing very solid tennis from the begin to the end. She hit the ball well and served well, and very consistent,” said Radwanska. “So, of course, here is my first tournament [this year], obviously it is disappointing when you lose but hope it’s a good lesson for the next tournament.”
Riske said: “It was an up-and-down match and I just focused on the next point, and tried to play point by point.”
China is a happy hunting ground for 26-year-old Riske, whose only WTA tour victory came at the Tianjin Open in 2014 and who reached the final there again last year.
The highest-ranked player left in the $750,000 Shenzhen Open is Britain’s world No 10 Johanna Konta, who ground out a 6-4, 6-7 (11-13), 6-3 victory over Kristyna Pliskova of the Czech Republic.
The two women hit a combined 22 aces during their two hour, 12 minute match, with Pliskova saving two match points in the marathon second set tiebreak, and Konta four set points, before the Czech finally prevailed.
“I knew going into the match that I would have a tough challenge on her service games,” said Konta. “I tried to neutralise her first and second serves as much as possible to try to get myself into those games, and work very hard to create some chances.”
In Friday’s semi-finals Riske will face Italy’s Camila Giorgi, who eliminated home player Wang Qiang 6-0, 6-2.
Konta will take on Katerina Siniakova, who followed up her defeat of world number four Simona Halep by disposing of Serb qualifier Nina Stojanovic, 6-3, 6-4.
Additional reporting by Xinhua