Alison Riske’s 2021 tennis season was one that started slowly because of injuries and the pandemic. It ended much better when she won her third career Women’s Tennis Association tournament title, the Upper Austria Ladies Linz in November.
She hopes to keep the momentum going in the Australian Open that begins next week.
Riske, the McMurray native who is ranked No. 57 in the world, is unseeded for the Australian. She will play Donna Vekic of Croatia, the No. 69-ranked player, in the opening round. A victory by Riske would get her a second-round match against either 26th-seeded Jalena Ostponko or unseeded Anna Karolina Schmiedlova.
To prepare for the Australian, Riske is playing in the Adelaide International and has advanced to the semifinals, where her oppponent will be fourth-seeded Tamara Zidansek of Croatia.
A potential fourth-round contest between top-ranked Ash Barty and defending champion Naomi Osaka highlighted the women’s draw that was announced Thursday.
Novak Djokovic remained in limbo even after he was included in the men’s singles draw, with the star still awaiting a government decision on whether to deport him for not being vaccinated for COVID-19.
Despite the cloud hanging over Djokovic’s ability to compete, Australian Open organizers included the top seed in the draw. He is slated to play fellow Serb Miomir Kecmanovic, who is ranked world No. 78., in the opening round next week.