Alison Riske won two matches on Friday and was rewarded with her first final appearance of 2018. The unseeded American claimed a 6-3, 6-1 semifinal win over Kirsten Flipkens at the Nurnberger Versicherungscup. The Belgian had previously dismissed the defending champion Kiki Bertens whose defeat will bring Naomi Osaka into the top 20 for the first time next week.
Riske had advanced past an injured Sorana Cirstea forced to retire in the third set in the morning quarterfinal and won 81 percent of points on her first serve against Flipkens showing no sign of fatigue throughout the match.
The American closed out the match in just more than an hour when Flipkens sent a forehand long and claimed the maiden title match since the 2017 Shenzhen Open. Riske will aim for the second title of her career when she meets Johanna Larsson who overcame No.8 seed Katerina Siniakova.
Riske will go for their third win in three meetings in their first encounter on clay. "It’s going to be tough," said Riske. "[Larsson] definitely likes her clay courts, and she is playing awesome this week.
I think it’s going to be a battle, and I’m just looking forward to a good final, for sure." Larsson completed a 4-6, 6-3, 6-1 win over No.8 seed Katerina Siniakova to clinch her first firna in three years.
A result, she admitted, that came totally unexpected. After losing the opening set, Larsson won the last four games of the second set and 10 of the last 11 games of the match to come back for the second time this week from a set down.
Larsson will play her fifth WTA final as she appeared in the championship match in Bastad in 2011, 2013 and 2015 and in Portoroz in 2010. "It's been quite a while, so it feels good to be back," Larsson said.
"I just tried to stay calm and focus on each ball and not think about the result. I think that worked out pretty good."