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By Erik Gudris | Saturday, February 6, 2016

 
Hogenkamp Fed Cup Russia 2016

Richel Hogenkamp outlasted Svetlana Kuznetsova in fours hours to give The Netherlands a 2-0 lead over Russia in Fed Cup.

Photo Credit: Getty Images


Richel Hogenkamp earned her place in Fed Cup history while also giving her Netherlands team an unexpected 2-0 lead against Russia on the opening day of their Fed Cup tie in Moscow.

The World No. 141 outlasted veteran Svetlana Kuznetsova in a four hour marathon that ended up being the longest ever Fed Cup match in their event’s history.


“I still can’t believe it,” Hogenkamp said just after the marathon win.

Hogenkamp took the first set in a tiebreak 7-6(4). The Russian veteran stormed back in the second set by opening up a 4-0 lead. Hogenkamp narrowed the gap and looked on the verge of perhaps winning in straight sets. Yet Kuzentsova, encouraged by her Russian teammates including Maria Sharapova, held on to take the second set with two winners in a row.

Using solid backcourt defense along with deft touch on her drop shots, Hogenkamp didn’t suffer a letdown. She took hold of an early break in the final set. Hogenkamp served for it at 5-4, but couldn’t close out Kuznetsova. The Russian broke back for 5-all and started showing more confidence that she was ready to finish the match on her terms.

The match soon entered historic territory after each player found themselves tied at 6-all in the final set. The Russian held a match point at 7-6 on Hogenkamp’s serve, but Kuzentsova would let a looping backhand sail just over the baseline. At 8-all, Hogenkamp broke Kuznetsova and once again had the opportunity to serve it out.

Hogenkamp went up 40-0, but Kuznetsova denied her the first two match points. Hogenkamp held her own in a final rally and caused Kuznetsova to commit one more error. With that Hogenkamp celebrated the 7-6(4), 5-7, 10-8 win.

The match ended up being the longest ever recorded Fed Cup singles match.

While it was triumph for Hogenkamp, it was yet another marathon heartbreak for Kuznetsova. In 2011, Francesca Schiavone defeated Kuznetsova 6-4, 1-6, 16-14 in the Australian Open fourth round in 4 hours and 44 minutes. That match became the longest ever recorded women’s singles ever played at a Grand Slam.




Earlier in Moscow, Kiki Bertens got her Netherlands team off to a good start in the first singles rubber. Bertens defeated Ekaterina Makarova 6-3, 6-4.

That now puts last year’s finalists Russia in a tough situation as they find themselves down 0-2 going into tomorrow’s reverse singles and possibly doubles.

Though Sharapova is on the Russian team, she is currently only scheduled to compete in the doubles if it comes to that. According to the AP, Sharapova was told by Russian tennis chief Shamil Tarpischev that if she didn’t compete in Fed Cup this weekend, she would not be eligible to compete for Russia in the upcoming Summer Olympics.

In an interview with Russian media, Sharapova’s agent Max Eisenbud suggested that this might be Sharapova’s last ever Fed Cup tie for Russia. Sharapova made herself available for the despite the fact that she currently is recovering from a left forearm injury.

Sunday’s reverse singles schedule currently has Kuznetsova facing Bertens while Makarova will take on Hogenkamp.

 

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