CHARLESTON, SC, USA - Not to be outdone by Bethanie Mattek-Sands' effort 24 hours earlier, Team Kindness captain Madison Keys also earned a debut singles win on Thursday at the Credit One Bank Invitational.
Playing her first match of any kind since the Australian Open at the non-WTA exhibition event, Brisbane runner-up Keys was quick out of the gates against compatriot Caroline Dolehide, in what was theoretically her return to Volvo Car Stadium on Daniel Island.
Last year's Volvo Car Open champion who didn't have an opportunity to officially defend her title in April, Keys won nine of the first 10 games to lead 6-1, 3-0 only to see her younger compatriot come roaring back from a 5-1 deficit in the second-set tiebreak.
"That was up and down," Keys said, following what was ultimately a 6-1, 6-7(6), 10-4 victory. "I haven't played a match in a really long time. I was definitely really nervous, and think that obviously showed, but really happy to get a win and another point for my team."
Dolehide saved three match points, consecutively from 6-3 down, to force a final set, but proved unable to dig out of an identical 5-1 hole in the ensuing match tiebreak.
"She started making a lot more balls and making me play. On my part, I slowed down my feet and was kind of waiting for her to give me points and then she wasn't," Keys assessed.
"I started getting frustrated and I think that snowballed a little bit. I was really happy to bounce back after that second set tiebreaker. All in all, things to work on but not too bad for a first match."
Keys' win was the final one-point match of the event and the third of Thursday's schedule. With Team Peace ahead 3-2 to begin the day's play, Jennifer Brady brushed past former World No.1 Victoria Azarenka, 6-3, 6-2, to stretch the lead, before Team Kindness' Sloane Stephens and Amanda Anisimova beat Eugenie Bouchard and Danielle Collins, 4-6, 7-6(5), 10-7 in a doubles match that was held over from Wednesday night.
Later in the afternoon, Team Kindness' Alison Riske overcame a determined effort from local favorite and former French Open junior runner-up Emma Navarro in another thrilling three-setter between a young American and a veteran, 7-6 (5), 4-6, 10-7.
Despite nearly 500 places between them in the WTA rankings, the University of Virginia commit hung tough with last year's Wimbledon quarterfinalist, in an effort that the World No.19 was full of praise for.
"I've been training with Emma leading up to the tournament," Riske said, "The world better watch out for her—she's coming. I personally think she's the real deal."
The lead for Riske's team was short-lived, however, as another battle between generations went the way of Team Peace.
In an intriguing clash of Canadians, former Wimbledon finalist Eugenie Bouchard rallied from a 4-1 deficit in the opening set to defeat rising star Leylah Annie Fernandez, 6-4, 6-3, leveling the overall match score at 6-6.
Closing out the evening, however, Mattek-Sands and Kenin put Team Peace on top headed into the fourth day of play, as the American pair beat Keys and Azarenka in a match tiebreak, 6-2, 1-6, 10-7.