On the first day of the Billie Jean King Cup Qualifying event in Asheville, USA established a 2-0 lead with Alison Riske’s and Jessica Pegula’s singles victories.
Alison Riske played and won the longest singles tiebreak in Billie Jean King Cup history as she beat Ukraine’s Dayana Yastremska 7-6(16) 7-5.
The world No.43 Riske laughed and called the tiebreak “bizarre and amazing at the same time”. Yastremska said that during the tiebreak she was laughing inside and wanted to cry at the same time, and explained: “I didn’t know when it’s going to finish. It was so unpredictable going both ways.”
The 21-year-old Yastremska is devastated because of the loss:
“My first thought was when I lost the match is that I want to kill myself because every match at this kind of events, it’s so emotional. Especially now while everything that is going on in Ukraine, you extra want to win, you extra want to win for the Ukraine.”
Jessica Pegula played true to recent form as she defeated Katarina Zavatska 6-2 6-1 in the second singles match.
After recording her first win for Team USA, Pegula described how the experience differs from regular WTA tournaments:
“It’s just a different dynamic than we’re really used to playing week in, week out where we have to be pretty selfish about ourselves and our games.
The team, we’ve been having so much fun this whole week. Honestly, it’s been a great week I think. No matter what happens, we always have each other’s backs. That’s really comforting to know that.
Also for me out there, like not to get frustrated that I miss a shot or something like that. I’m playing for something bigger than myself, so I think usually my attitude actually is a little bit better because, yeah, I guess pressure-wise that way I feel like it almost helps because I’m not getting upset. I have a team behind me. I’m not going to throw a fit on the court or something like that.”
Saturday’s schedule features reverse singles, as Pegula faces Yastremska and Riske faces Zavatska afterwards. When it comes to doubles, we have Desirae Krawczyk/Shelby Rogers (USA) vs. Lyudmyla Kichenok/Nadiia Kichenok (UKR). The United States only needs to win one more match to advance to the finals, as this is the best-of-five competition format.