Alison Riske got here out on prime of the second-longest tiebreak in Billie Jean King Cup historical past on Friday, edging Dayana Yastremska 7-6 (18/16), 7-5 as the USA took a 2-0 lead on Ukraine.
Riske wanted eight set factors within the tiebreaker whereas Yastremska battled again from 5-1 down and had 4 set factors herself earlier than the American pulled off the epic decider within the opening rubber of the tie in Asheville, North Carolina.
“It was so weird and wonderful on the similar time,” mentioned Riske.
Yastremska added: “I used to be laughing inside and, similar time, I needed to cry. I didn’t know when it’s going to complete. It was so unpredictable each methods.”
It was already an emotional week in Asheville, the place the US workforce did all they might to make the Ukrainians — apprehensive about household and associates at house amid the continuing Russian invasion — really feel welcome.
“It’s like dwelling in two completely different realities,” Ukraine captain Olga Savchuk mentioned on Thursday of making an attempt to give attention to tennis whereas the brutal preventing 5,000 miles away in Europe remained within the forefront of their minds.
With Ukraine followers, flags and colours distinguished within the stands, Riske was pushed all the way in which by Yastremska, a three-time WTA winner as soon as ranked as excessive a twenty first on the earth however now at 93rd.
However American Jessica Pegula sped previous 22-year-old Katarina Zavatska 6-2, 6-1 in simply 64 minutes as the USA moved near a spot within the finals.
Seven qualifiers are being performed on Friday and Saturday.
The winners will be a part of Switzerland, Australia, Belgium and Slovakia within the finals later this yr.
Defending champions Russia in addition to Belarus have been expelled from the competitors as a result of invasion of Ukraine.
Iga Swiatek marked her first match as world primary with an 18th straight victory as she steered Poland nearer to the finals.
The 20-year-old swept previous 123rd-ranked Mihaela Buzarnescu 6-1, 6-0 in simply 55 minutes because the Poles opened a 2-0 lead over Romania in Radom.
Swiatek went into the tie on a sizzling streak, placing collectively 17 successive wins on her approach to titles in Doha, Indian Wells and Miami.
Teammate Magda Linette earlier fought off the problem of skilled Irina-Camelia Begu 6-1, 4-6, 6-2.
“I’m far more assured proper now,” mentioned Swiatek. “I really feel like I’ve grown up for positive.”
US Open champion Emma Raducanu helped Britain stage their tie towards 11-time champions Czech Republic 1-1 with a 7-5, 7-5 win towards Tereza Martincova.
Raducanu, taking part in on a clay courtroom for the primary time as an expert, wrapped up victory in simply over two hours.
The 19-year-old confirmed no unwell results from shedding her toenails in coaching on the demanding floor earlier within the week in Prague.
The Czechs, taking part in with out two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova and former world primary Karolina Pliskova, had taken a 1-0 lead when Marketa Vondrousova defeated Harriet Dart 6-1, 6-0.
Kazakhstan even have one foot within the finals after opening a shock 2-0 lead over Germany in Nur-Sultan.
Yulia Putintseva recorded a nationwide file fifteenth singles win within the rebranded Fed Cup match by defeating three-time main winner Angelique Kerber 3-6, 6-3, 6-2.
Elena Rybakina then demolished Laura Siegemund 6-1, 6-0 to depart the Kazakhs needing only one level from Saturday’s doubles and two reverse singles to seal general victory.
Italy are 2-0 up on France in Sardinia.
Jasmine Paolini, ranked at 48, defeated Alize Cornet, the world quantity 34, in three units, 2-6, 6-1, 7-6 (7/2).
Paolini, who had misplaced her final seven matches within the match, saved two match factors.
Previous to dealing with the second match level, she needed to change her shoelaces.
France, champions as lately as 2019, slipped additional behind when Camila Giorgi, the world quantity 30, had an excessive amount of firepower for 94th-ranked Oceane Dodin 6-1, 6-2.
Spain, whose 5 titles all got here within the Nineties, are 2-0 up on the Netherlands regardless of lacking injured two-time Grand Slam title winner Garbine Muguruza and world quantity three Paula Badosa.
Nuria Parrizas Diaz noticed off Arantxa Rus 6-2, 7-6 (7/4) earlier than Sara Sorribes Tormo defeated Lesley Pattinama Kerkhove 6-4, 6-3.
In Vancouver, Canada took a 2-0 lead over Latvia as Leylah Fernandez defeated Darja Semanistaja 6-1, 6-2 and Rebecca Marino beat Daniela Vismane 6-3, 6-7 (4/7), 6-3.