Kiki Bertens was pretty nervous at the start of her competition. “I haven’t been there for two years and I don’t want to disappoint the girls and the public. Of course I now have much more experience and I can deal with it better than before, but yes indeed I certainly had nerves, “said Kiki after the first FedCup match against Belarus. It didn’t help that her opponents Aliaksandra Sasnovich got off to a good start. She played uninhibited and immediately put Bertens under pressure with deep balls interspersed with well-placed dropshots. It resulted in a quick break. The Belarusian took the lead with 3-1, but Bertens managed to break back. A tie-break finally had to make the decision in the first set and it was Sasnovich who took the lead again (7-5).
In the second and third set, Bertens put things in order. She started to play better and with more courage, so she got the points herself and forced Aliaksandra to make more mistakes: 6-2 and 6-1. “The nerves were less, my arms and legs were looser and I got better at my rhythm.” This was the first point for the Netherlands. With a roar and later tears, Bertens expressed her joy. When asked Captain Haarhuis what he said to Kiki when he saw that she was so tense, he replied: “We talked about how she wants to be coached. Also in the situation that she is tense and is not comfortable in the competition. I know that you should not say too much and certainly not with five hundred recommendations on what can be done differently. So I didn’t do that. “
In the second match, Arantxa Rus proved unable to cope with Aryna Sabalenka’s tennis violence. The tattoo of a roaring tiger on her arm is entirely in accordance with her fighting spirit. With flat, hard blows she put pressure on Arantxa from start to finish. She only allowed five games to the Dutch (6-2, 6-3). Not that Arantxa played poorly. On the contrary, her game proved that she had had a great season, and rightly again in the top 100 hundred (77). Only Aryan Sabalenka was incredibly good. Of the total of 64 points she achieved in the entire competition, 32 were direct winners. Groud strokes were hit against the lines with unprecedented precision. Arantxa did her utmost to keep the Belarusian with deep balls in the back, but simply had to acknowledge that Aryan was too good today. “I was behind all the time and had only a few small chances to come alongside. If I had managed to do so, she maybe started to feel more pressure, she probably would have made some mistakes. But that was not the case. If she always plays like today, she deserves to be even higher in the rankings than she does “(number 13 in the world). Tomorrow is the next and last day of play with two ankles and a double.