ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) — Alison Riske and Jessica Pegula gave the United States a 2-0 lead over Ukraine on Friday in the best-of-five Billie Jean King Cup qualifier.
Riske beat Dayana Yastremska 7-6 (18-16), 7-5, surviving an epic first set that lasted 1 hour, 27 minutes. Pegula beat Katarina Zavatska 6-2, 6-1 in the second match.
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.
“Honestly, I don’t even know what happened,” Riske said. “It was so bizarre and amazing at the same time. 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.”
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.”
Yastremska had six aces, but four double faults.
Pegula will play Yastremska, and Riske will face Zavatska on Saturday in the reverse singles. There will also be a doubles match. The United States only needs to win one of those matches to advance to the finals.
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