Alison Riske clinched a 34-point tiebreaker to give the United States a winning start in the Billie Jean King Cup qualifier against Ukraine on Friday.
Riske beat Dayana Yastremska 7-6 (18-16), 7-5, surviving an epic first set that lasted 1 hour, 27 minutes. Jessica Pegula beat Katarina Zavatska 6-2, 6-1 to give USA a 2-0 lead on Day 1.
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The 34-point tiebreaker was the second-longest in Billie Jean Cup history, surpassed only by the 40-point tiebreaker in a doubles match when India’s Manisha Malhotra and Sania Mrza beat Uzbekistan’s Ivanna Israilova and Vlada Ekshibarova in the 2004 Asia/Oceanic Group 1 event, 21-19.
Alison Riske wins the 2nd longest tiebreak in @BJKCup history to take the first set! @Riske4rewards | #TeamUSATennis pic.twitter.com/eUwykISbST
— USTA (@usta) April 15, 2022
“I’m just really offended that it wasn’t the No. 1-longest tie-breaker in history,” Riske joked during an on-court interview.
“I’m was just thinking as I played it that it really had to be something special. It was so bizarre and amazing at the same time.
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“I felt like every time I got a set point, she would come up with something, a great serve or a great return, that would put me on offense.
“I had a couple second serves throughout that time that I was a little nervous on and didn’t quite execute, so those were unfortunate.”
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Riske, who had only one ace, said it was an emotional match.
“I was just really proud that I was able to keep my head in there and overcome that,” Riske said.
“I wanted to win for my team. I want to win for my country. I’m honestly just very proud that I was able to do that.”
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Yastremska had six aces, but four double faults.
Pegula will play Yastremska, and Riske will face Zavatska on Saturday in the reverse singles on Saturday.