Day 1: Update 1: USA’s Riske Defeats Germany’s ‘Petko’
Despite overcast skies, blustery winds and the ongoing threat of rain, the 2017 Fed Cup players were cheered on by a near-capacity group of enthusiastic tennis fans from Germany, Maui and beyond.
In match (rubber) No. 1, Alison RISKE (USA) met Andrea PETKOVIC (GER) at the Royal Lahaina Resort’s center court.
Unfortunately, during the opening ceremonies, a defunct stanza of Germany’s national anthem was played, which did not set a great atmosphere for the German contingent, or Petkovic. The stanza is reflective of a former regime during WWII.
“I thought it was the epitome of ignorance, and I’ve never felt more disrespected in my whole life, let alone in Fed Cup and I’ve played Fed Cup for 13 years now… it is the worst thing that has ever happened to me,” she said.
Nevertheless, German fans with drums, bells and vuvuzela chanted “Petko, Petko” in support of Petkovic.
Not to be outdone, Riske fans chanted “USA, USA.”
Both players are young, lean and strong, and possess a wide variety of effective shots. Riske seemed to use more topspin, while Petkovic hit a fast, flatter ball.
Petkovic took the early lead at 3 games to 5. In the next game, at 30-15 with Petkovic serving, Riske fielded a drop shot, then a lob, putting the following ball away and bringing the set score to 4-5.
Riske persevered in her service game with consistent play. A wide serve produced an error for Petkovic, bringing the set to a 5-all tie.
“This is spectacular!” many of the fans roared.
In Petkovic’s next service game, two of her shots were called out, bringing the score to 6-5 in USA’s favor.
Riske’s next service game zipped by, with Petkovic scoring no points.
At 6 games all, they began a 7-point tiebreak.
The tiebreak was close, with each player coming up with great shot combinations.
After Petkovic double-faulted her serve at 3 all, there was a short rain delay.
The score increased on both sides of the net. Then, at 10-10, Riske finally broke loose with a long rally ending in a short-shot winner, and another long rally that forced Petkovic’s to hit into the net.
Tiebreak Score: Riske 12, Petkovic 10
First Set Score: Riske 7, Petkovic 6
The second set was all Riske. Petkovic scored only one point in the first 3 games.
She rallied later in the set, but it was too little, too late.
The second set score was 6-2.
After the match, Petkovic said that it was really in the first set that she lost the match.
She added that Riske “played a fantastic second set.”
An interview with Riske will be posted later.
Coco VANDEWEGHE (USA) vs Julia GOERGES (GER) were up next. The remainder of the game was postponed due to rain.
WEATHER UPDATE, Feb 11, 8 a.m.
The weather forecast for Maui calls for a chance of rain on Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 11 and 12, during Team USA’s Fed Cup World Group first-round tie against Germany at the Royal Lahaina Resort.
As of 8 a.m. HST on Saturday, matches are still set to take place as scheduled.
Any delays to the schedule will be posted here throughout the weekend, or go to www.usta.com/fedcup.
FED CUP 2017: USA vs Germany
As a result of the 2017 draw, the U.S. Fed Cup Team will play Germany in the first round on Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 11 and 12, on Maui at the Royal Lahaina Resort.
Fed Cup by BNP Paribas (known as the Federation Cup until 1995) will bring tennis fans, pros and players of all ages from around the world to Maui to experience the passion of Fed Cup competition.
(The men’s equivalent of the Fed Cup is the Davis Cup.]
Playing for the USA are Alison Riske, Coco Vandeweghe and Bethanie Mattek-Sands.
Playing for Germany are Andrea Petkovic Julia Goerges, Laura Siegemund and Carina Witthoeft.
Rising star Vandeweghe is scheduled to play two singles and one doubles match.
The last time these two teams met was in 2011 in the World Group play-off in Stuttgart, Germany. Germany dominated the USA team 5-0 and regained their World Group status.
The Germans started the tie strong and never slowed down with back to back wins from Andrea Petkovic and Julia Goerges. Then in the third rubber, with Germany ahead in the 2-tie, Petkovic defeated Melanie Oudin 6-2, 6-3 to secure the win for Germany.
These two nations are becoming frequent rivals in Fed Cup having met 13 times (three times since the best-of-five match (rubber) format was introduced).
The United States boasts one of the best records, with 17 titles since the competition’s inception.
The USA has a comfortable 8-5 advantage over their German opponents.
Two singles matches will be played on Saturday and two singles matches followed by a doubles match will be played on Sunday.
These collective matches are called a “tie.” The first country to win three matches wins the tie.
Maui’s Royal Lahaina Resort outdoor hard court has a medium-slow pace rating.
Fed Cup World Group First Round Tie
United States Fed Cup Captain Kathy Rinaldi
Germany Fed Cup Captain Barbara Rittner
DAY 1, Saturday, Feb. 11, 11 a.m.
Alison RISKE (USA) vs Andrea PETKOVIC (GER)
Coco VANDEWEGHE (USA) vs Julia GOERGES (GER)
DAY 2, Sunday, Feb. 12 10 a.m.
Coco VANDEWEGHE (USA) vs Andrea PETKOVIC (GER)
Alison RISKE (USA) vs Julia GOERGES (GER)
Bethanie MATTEK-SANDS & Coco VANDEWEGHE (USA) vs Laura SIEGEMUND & Carina WITTHOEFT (GER)
FED CUP BACKGROUND
The Fed Cup, launched in 1963, is the premier team competition in women’s professional tennis and the largest annual international team competition in women’s sports, with approximately 100 nations taking part each year.
The top eight nations compete in the prestigious World Group, which consists of three single-elimination rounds each year with each tie being contested either home or away, depending on which country hosted the previous tie. The remaining nations compete in World Group II
The remaining nations compete in World Group II or one of three regional Zonal Competitions, depending on their location.
Only nations in the World Group are eligible to compete for the Fed Cup title.
The four World Group nations that lose in the first round must compete in the World Group Playoffs against the four winners from World Group II with the winning nations moving into the World Group the following year.
Based on 2016 results, the United States competes in the World Group in 2017.
Each team is comprised of four players and each team’s respective captain has until 10 days before the tie to nominate their team. Recent U.S. team members have included Serena Williams, Venus Williams, Madison Keys, Sloane Stephens, Coco Vandeweghe and Bethanie Mattek-Sands along with many others ready to answer their country’s call.
Fed Cup ties have been contested all over the world. Earning a position on your nation’s Fed Cup team is a tremendous honor and many of the game’s all-time greats have been featured in the competition throughout its history.
The Fed Cup competition is owned and managed by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) based in London. The United States Tennis Association (USTA) oversees the United States’ participation in Fed Cup.