DUBAI, UAE - No.38-ranked American Alison Riske took out her compatriot and No.11 seed CoCo Vandeweghe in straight sets to move into the second round at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, 6-4, 6-4.
Playing in their first match since teaming up for Fed Cup, the pair squared off for the eighth time (across all levels) with Riske leading 1-0 in their WTA head-to-head record.
"It can be difficult [to play a friend], especially we just had the best week together at Fed Cup. So it was unfortunate that we played each other first round," Riske told press after the match.
"But at the end of the day you have to focus on you, and there are so many Americans now in the top. We are all friends, or at least I feel like we are.
"We're going to beat each other week in and week out, and it's something that we've got to get used to."
Riske kept the Australian Open semifinalist out of her comfort zone throughout the match, taking the pace off the ball and absorbing Vandeweghe's powerful shots, redirecting it all back at the No.21-ranked American.
Vandeweghe gave up the first break of the match with a double fault - one of the 11 she'd hit during the match - to give Riske a 4-3 lead. Riske weathered back to back breaks of serve as the pair wrestled for momentum towards the end, before taking the opening set on her serve.
The frustration continued to mount for Vandeweghe, who dropped her serve to start the second set and give Riske another early lead. The No.38-ranked American kept her nose in front after a flurry of four straight breaks, comfortably serving out the match to love - aided by a pair of Vandeweghe's 58 unforced errors.
"I think she was having a little difficulty with her first serves," Riske assessed. "But she was starting to get back in rhythm in the second set there. I feel if I had let up just a little bit, things could have changed.
"I was definitely proud of myself for staying in there and still dictating as best I could and not giving her an inch to come back."
Awaiting Riske in the second round of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships will be Anastasija Sevastova, who cruised past Irina-Camelia Begu in straight sets.
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This article was first seen on www.wtatennis.com.