Riske wins opener at U.S. Open
Alison Riske of Peters Township, shown in this file photo from this year’s Wimbledon Championship, earned her first victory at the U.S. Open Tuesday by defeating Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria.
NEW YORK – The breakthrough season for Alison Riske continued Tuesday evening.
Riske, a Peters Township native, won her opening match in the United States Open tennis tournament, defeating Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria, 6-3, 6-3, in the first round at the USTA Billie Jean King Tennis Center.
It was the first career win in the U.S. Open for the 23-year-old Riske and her first victory on a hard court in a major tournament. Riske advanced to the third round on the grass courts of the Wimbledon Championships in June.
Riske, who is ranked No. 95 in the latest Women’s Tennis Association ratings, received a wild-card entry to the U.S. Open and was unseeded. Against Pironkova, who is ranked No. 67, Riske played a solid match throughout, winning 63 percent of her first serves and needing only 84 minutes to secure the victory.
The 25-year-old Pironkova, who advanced to the fourth round of the U.S. Open last year and the semifinals at Wimbledon in 2010, entered the match with 30 career victories in grand slam tournaments. But she struggled with her serving, putting in only 37 percent of her first serves in the opening set compared to 62 percent for Riske.
In the second set, Riske won more than 50 percent of the points off Pironkova’s serves and built a 4-2 lead.
After Pironkova pulled to within 4-3, Riske won the final two games to even her all-time record at the U.S. Open at 1-1.
Riske will play Mona Barthel of Germany in the second round. Barthel is seeded No. 28 and won her first-round match over Sweden’s Johanna Larson, 6-1, 6-4.
A former PIAA champion, Riske also is playing women’s doubles with American Melanie Oudin. The duo will play their opening match today against Lauren Davis and Grace Min.