The daughter of Al and Carol Riske, she first played tennis at the age of 3 years old after her dad took her out to hit. Her father worked in the Secret Service and later as an FBI investigator, while her mother was a school teacher, but both are now retired. Her sister, Sarah, is also a tennis player who played for Vanderbilt and had a brief professional career, reaching as high as No. 372. Her brother, Dan, played college tennis for West Liberty State, and is now an accountant.
Educated by the Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School, she played the fall of 2006 for Peters Township High School, where she led the girls' tennis team to the Pennsylvania State championship, and won the championship in singles. The following year, she won the USTA National Collegiate Clay Court Championship to earn a spot in the US Open qualifying draw, where she won her first match over Sorana Cîrstea before losing to Julie Ditty. She also won the ITA Summer Claycourt Championship and finished second at the USTA National Hardcourts that year. In early 2008, she earned the No. 1 ranking in her country in Girls 18s competition. She got her first taste of the professional circuit later that year, when she served as a hitting partner for the United States Fed Cup team in their semifinal against Russia.
Riske was coached by Brandon Stewart at Peters Township when she won the state title in 2006. Stewart currently resides in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and coaches at Oxford Athletic Club. In her early career, Riske was coached by Janice Irwin, coach of the girls' tennis team at nearby Upper St. Clair High School. She later began working with Yves Boulais, the husband of former professional Patricia Hy-Boulais, alongside her sister, Sarah. She briefly trained at the USTA training center in Boca Raton, Florida as well as Van Der Meer Tennis Academy in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. She returned to training with Yves Boulais at the end of 2012 and currently trains with him at the Ontario Racquet Club in Mississauga Ontario Canada
Riske came into 2009 ranked 895 in the world. A senior in the class of 2009, she had signed a letter of intent to play college tennis at Vanderbilt University.
In May 2009, Riske began a run on the ITF Women's circuit. As a qualifier, she reached the semifinals of a pro tournament in Indian Harbour Beach. In June she reached the finals of a tournament in Hilton Head, and again as a qualifier reached the semifinals of a tournament in Boston. Her form continued as she reached another semifinal, this time in Atlanta.
By the time of the US Open, Riske's ranking had improved to 344, over 500 places from when she started the year. She was granted a wildcard into the qualifying tournament of the US Open, but fell in three sets to Yulia Fedossova. Before the US Open, Riske made the decision to give up her scholarship to Vanderbilt and turn professional largely in part due to her breakthrough year. Riske continued her form to the end of the year where she broke through at an ITF tournament in Troy, Alabama. Again as a qualifier, she defeated compatriot Christina McHale to take the title there.
She finished the year ranked at No. 232.
Riske began 2010, her first full season as a professional, by reaching the semifinals of an ITF event in Rancho Mirage. She played in several qualifying tournaments for WTA events with little success until June, when she qualified for the Aegon Classic, a grass court event, and went on to have her professional breakthrough, earning wins over Aleksandra Wozniak, Anna Chakvetadze and Yanina Wickmayer before losing in three sets to Maria Sharapova in the semifinals. This led to her being offered a main draw wildcard to Wimbledon, her Grand Slam debut, where she lost in a rematch against Wickmayer in the first round.
In October 2010, Riske completed an impressive run of winning an ITF 75k, 50K and 50K in three straight weeks.
In 2011, Riske reached the finals of 50k in Indian Harbour Beach, Florida. A few weeks later she had success on grass reaching the semis of Nottingham and quarter finals of a WTA event Aegon Classic. Riske completed 2011 with a successful run in Europe winning a 50k in Joué-lès-Tours and Limoges and finishing the year ranked 136.
At the 2013 US Open, Riske caused a big upset when she defeated former Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitová in the third round. She lost in the following round to former world number five Daniela Hantuchová.
Riske reached the quarter-finals at the 2014 Hobart International, beating Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Casey Dellacqua. In the 2014 Australian Open, Riske upset #23 seed Elena Vesnina, and made it to the third round before losing to #9 seed Angelique Kerber. At the WTA Premier Birmingham, she reached the third round after beating Lyudmyla Kichenok in the first round and her twin sister Nadiia Kichenok in the second round.
At the inaugural Tianjin Open in October, Riske was seeded sixth and defeated Çağla Büyükakçay, Olga Govortsova, Varvara Lepchenko and Zheng Saisai en route to the final, without dropping a set. She proceeded to win her maiden WTA title, defeating 17-year-old Swiss Belinda Bencic. After the match, Riske said: "It's a huge accomplishment for me to win my first WTA title and I was here [in China] by myself, which made it even more special, just to know that I was able to do it by myself. I hope I can keep up the momentum and try to compete every week as best as I can."
Riske reached the finals of the Shenzhen Open in January before losing in straight sets to Agnieszka Radwańska.
Current through 2014 US Open.