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By Adrianna Outlaw | Saturday, February 11, 2017

 
Alison Riske

Alison Riske saved set points and reeled off nine of the last 12 games subduing Andrea Petkovic, 7-6 (10), 6-2 to stake the United States to a 1-0 lead over Germany.

Photo credit: Fed Cup Facebook

Alison Riske managed multiple challenges to earn her first career Fed Cup victory today.

A tricky breeze, topsy-turvy tiebreak interrupted by rain and spiking nerves all struck Riske today.

Watch: Fed Cup World Group Split Decisions 

Down 3-5, Riske faced her predicament on the rise.

Riske saved two set points and reeled off nine of the last 12 games subduing Andrea Petkovic, 7-6 (10), 6-2 to stake the United States to a 1-0 lead over Germany in the Fed Cup opener at the Royal Lahaina Resort on Maui.

“I was so nervous the entire time,” Riske told Tennis Channel’s Steve Weissman in an on-court interview afterward. “I wanted so badly to win for the States, for my team, for all of you.

"At that point I just tried to fight it as best I could. That’s really all I could do—the best I could—it worked in my favor today.”

An emotional Riske grew teary-eyed discussing Kathy Rinaldi, who made her debut as U.S. captain today.

“I might start crying,” Riske said. “It just really means a lot to me especially for new Fed Cup captain Kathy—we all want to win for her. It’s special to represent your country and I’m happy I could add to the win line.”




Australian Open semifinalist CoCo Vandeweghe built a 6-3, 3-1 lead over Germany’s Julia Goerges when rain suspended play.

The 38th-ranked Riske burst out to a 3-1 lead in the opening match.

Finding her range, Petkovic began stinging her ground strokes with more commitment. The sturdy German reeled off four consecutive games.

Petkovic served for the set at 5-3, but grew increasingly defensive waiting for Riske errors that did not come.

A topsy-turvy tie break presented set points for both sides. Petkovic denied set point with a crackling serve.

Two points later, Riske saved set point following a forehand to net and knocking off a backhand volley for 7-all. Petkovic saved two more set points, including cranking a crosscourt forehand for 9-9. 

When Riske scattered a backhand, Petkovic had a second set point but double faulted to drop to 10-all. Ending a 13-shot rally with a fine drop shot winner, Riske earned a fourth set point. 

This time, she converted seizing an adventurous set when Petkovic netted a backhand.

A shower briefly interrupted play after the tie break.

The breeze picked up a bit when play resumed and Petkovic lost her range and look rattled by Riske’s repeated runs to net.

Nudging a delicate half-volley drop shot from her backhand Riske broke for 4-0. She steamrolled through a quick hold at 15 for 5-0.

Petkovic finally stalled her free-fall holding for 1-5.

Hitting with more conviction, Petkovic rapped a forehand down the line breaking for 2-5.

Bouncing inside the baseline, Riske committed to taking every ball on the rise. Ripping a forehand crosscourt, she drew a forehand error on match point to capture her first career Fed Cup victory.

A shower briefly interrupted play after the tie break.

The breeze picked up a bit when play resumed and Petkovic lost her range and look rattled by Riske’s repeated runs to net.

Nudging a delicate half-volley drop shot from her backhand Riske broke for 4-0. She steamrolled through a quick hold at 15 for 5-0.

Petkovic finally stalled her free-fall holding for 1-5.

Hitting with more conviction, Petkovic rapped a forehand down the line breaking for 2-5.

Bouncing inside the baseline, Riske committed to taking every ball on the rise. Ripping a forehand crosscourt, she drew a forehand error on match point to capture her first career Fed Cup victory.

As Petkovic trudged off the court, Goerges immediately ran into problems on court.

Goerges double faulted to gift the break and a 2-0 lead to Vandeweghe. Goerges broke back with a firm “come on!”

Showing the same competitive fire—and propensity for carnage—she displayed Down Under, Vandeweghe cracked her Yonex racquet working through a deuce hold for 3-2. Goerges left a ball hanging in mid court and paid the price. Vandeweghe spun an inside-out forehand winner for break point then broke for 4-2.

Crunching her third ace, Vandeweghe gained double set point. Converted her second set point to seize a one-set lead.

Anticipation helped the American earn the opening break to start the second set.

Goerges got up quickly to a short forehand sitter, but Vandeweghe guessed right and put a backhand right back at the German. Blocking an errant volley, Goerges dropped serve to start the second set.

Spitting showers began falling. The rain, combined with the breeze, created a moist court and tricky conditions.

Tracking a shot near the baseline in the fourth game, Goerges slipped stepping on the slick baseline and immediately crumpled to court clutching her left leg in pain.

As the rain intensified play was suspended and both players left the court with Vandeweghe holding a 6-3, 3-1 lead.

About 20 minutes later, the pair returned to court and began warming-up in preparation for resuming, but the rain returned. Goerges was wearing taping around her left knee.

Though they had a brief hit, increasing rain prevented play from resuming.


 

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