Riske finishes runner-up in Tianjin

October 16, 2016 07:45 AM

By McCarton Ackerman, USTA.com

Alison Riske continued her love affair with China by finishing as runner-up at the Tianjin Open, buoyed by scoring the biggest win of her career.

The 26-year-old defeated world No. 8 and two-time Grand Slam champion Svetlana Kuznetsova in a rain-delayed semifinal on Sunday, 6-4, 5-7, 6-4. The victory gave Riske her first victory over Kuznetsova in five attempts and her first win over a Top 8 player.

After a short break, she went back on court to play the final against local favorite Peng Shuai. Feeling the effects of her long match against Kuznetsova, Riske lost the championship match, 7-6(3), 6-2.

“Started 2016 with a final, ended 2016 with a final. Only love for my season," Riske posted on Twitter. "I learned so much this year. A special thank you to my friends, family, fiancé and fans (Some of my favorite F words). I already cannot wait one bit for 2017!”

Riske finished her 2016 season with three runner-up showings in WTA events. She achieved that milestone in her first event of the year in Shenzhen, China, then repeated the feat in June in Nottingham, England.

The American enjoyed a solid fall season in Asia, reaching the quarterfinals at WTA events in Guangzhou, China, and Tokyo. Riske’s only WTA title came in Tianjin in 2014.

Riske started the year at No. 97 in the WTA rankings but will move inside the Top 50 when the new rankings are released on Monday.