Alison Riske (born July 3, 1990) is a professional American tennis player. Her highest WTA singles ranking is 185, which she reached on June 7, 2010. Her career high in doubles is 401, which she reached on September 21, 2009.
Early life and career
The daughter of Al and Carol Riske,[ she first played tennis at the age of 3 years old after her dad took her out to hit. Her sister, Sarah, is also a tennis player who played for Vanderbilt and had a brief professional career, reaching as high as No. 372. Her brother, Dan, played college tennis for West Liberty State.
Educated at the Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School, she played the fall of 2006 for Peter Township High School, where she led the girls' tennis team to the Pennsylvania State championship, and won the championship in singles. 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. She later earned the No. 1 ranking in her country in Girls 18s competiton. She got her first taste of the professional circuit later in 2008, when she served as a hitting partner for the United States Fed Cup team in their semifinal against Russia.
Riske came into 2009 ranked 895 in the world. A senior in the class of 2009, she had signed a letter of intent to play college tennis at Vanderbilt University.
Riske dabbled in a few pro tournaments with small success until May. Finding impressive form, Riske began a run on the ITF Women's 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, Riske's ranking had improved to 344, over 500 places from when she started the year. She was granted a wildcard 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 and turn professional largely in part due to her breakthrough year. Riske continued her form to the end of the year where she broke through in her first professional tournament in Troy, Alabama. Again as a qualifier she made another impressive run to claim the title over compatriot Christina McHale.
She finished the year ranked at No. 232.
Riske begun 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 2010 AEGON Classic, a grass court event. She then earned her first victory in the main draw of a WTA tournament by beating Sandra Záhlavová, before beating Aleksandra Wozniak and Anna Chakvetadze to reach the quarterfinals. There, she surprised World No. 16 Yanina Wickmayer in three sets. She lost to former World No. 1 Maria Sharapova 2–6, 6–4, 1–6 in the semifinals.