Alison Riske and Jaqueline Cristian will play for the Upper Austria Ladies Linz title on Friday after advancing in their respective semi-finals.
At the top of the draw, the eighth seed from the United States led her fellow American, third seed Danielle Collins 7-5 in the first set before the latter decided to retire from the match with a shoulder injury. Coming into the match, Collins’ right shoulder was strapped and her game, too, lacked its customary punch and she fell behind in the score despite going up an early break.
Meanwhile, this is the final Riske’s reached this season. Earlier, she’d reached the final of the Portoroz Open (lost to Jasmine Paolini). Speaking about the season she’s had after coming through, Riske said, “I had a really rocky year. I was injured for about nine months. I was just healthy starting at Wimbledon, and it’s been a slow process coming back – I get emotional thinking about it because it’s definitely been a journey.”
Upper Austria Ladies Linz: Jaqueline Cristian’s surge continues
Riske’s opponent, Cristian’s path to her maiden WTA final came courtesy of her semi-final opponent, fellow Romanian and second seed, Simona Halep’s withdrawal ahead of their semi-final clash.
Halep announced through a tweet that she’d had to pull out of the tournament after injuring her right knee during her quarter-final clash against Paolini. “Unfortunately, I am not able to play in my semi-final after injuring my knee in my match yesterday. I would do anything to be able to play, but it is swollen and painful and playing will only make it worse. I want to say a huge thank you to the tournament and fans here,” she said.
This is yet another injury for Halep, who injured her calf during the Rome International and was left out of commission for the rest of the clay season and the grass season.
Meanwhile, the Upper Austria Ladies Linz final will be the first meeting between Alison Riske and Jaqueline Cristian. Likewise, Cristian’s the second consecutive lucky loser to reach the final in the Austrian event after Coco Gauff reached the final in its previous edition, in 2019. If Cristian wins the title, she’ll join the American in winning the tournament as a lucky loser.