The final and decisive game also started excellent for the Netherlands on day two of the FedCup game. Bertens and Schuurs showed why they are potential medal candidates for the Olympic Games in Tokyo. The Sabalenka / Sasnovich duo is more than a formidable opponent. Sabalenka is number 5 among the double players and has the number 2 position behind her name as the highest ranking. Sasnovich is currently 46 on the double ranking. Nevertheless, they had to allow a break due to a thorough play by the Dutch pair and the first set was for the Netherlands. Demi Schuurs is of course a double specialist who, with 10 titles, plays her part at the world top (she is 14th but has already been number 7 in the world). Kiki is also an experienced double player with 10 WTA double titles in her pocket. She has been particularly successful with the Swedish Larsson, but also with Demi. She won the Brisbane tournament in 2018 with Schuurs and she was in Rosmalen in 2017 with her in the final. There is certainly a click between the two but nevertheless they had to leave the second set 6-3 to the Belarusian duo.
It was typical of this FedCup duel that the Netherlands was not able to push through at times when the victory was within reach. Such a moment also occurred in the third set. At the 6-5 score for the Netherlands, the Belarusians were 0-30 behind in their service game. The Netherlands was two points away from a ticket to the finals in Budapest. It was not going to happen: 6-6; The Netherlands came behind in the tiebreak, but managed to keep coming back. Demi Schuurs in particular ensured a blistering interaction with the public. With passionate cries for joy after winning points, she encouraged Dutch fans to produce even more supporting decibels. And so the audience did, but during the points it was completely silent and everyone felt the tension in this tennis thriller. Where Kiki seemed to be free of nerves in the morning, the tension could be read off her face again in this competition. At a score of 8-8 it went wrong for the Netherlands and after two errors Belarus could celebrate the victory. Fair is fair, the resilience of the Belarusians deserves praise. They always came back from a backlog situation and never gave up the match.
Where did it go wrong in this competition? At the press conference, Demi said they failed to seize their chances. She also expressed her doubts about her service. Against such a hard-hitter as Sabalenka, it might not be dangerous enough. Paul Haarhuis found it difficult to appoint. There was of course only a small loss, but if he had to identify a cause, the play was a bit too passive. “You have to take a risk to interrupt that cross-rally. In fact, the number of times you are passed along the line is an indication of this. How often has that happened? Two or three times? That is not enough, you actually have to be passed 5 or 6 times along the line. At the same time, of course you have to be at the net 20 or 25 times and grab your points there. I have seen that a little too little. “
Kiki Bertens doubted whether she would be available again for the Dutch Fed Cup team. Earlier, she stated at a press conference that the competitions did not fit well in her schedule. A statement that is given more often, especially by top players for not playing the Fed Cup matches (and for the men the Davis Cup matches). “That sounds selfish and maybe it is.” However, Kiki is far from being selfish. It is no secret that the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro were a deception for her. Lack of atmosphere, playing on a court far from the big stadions, not everyone was allowed to attend the opening ceremony and whoever was ready had to go home. It didn’t have to happen again for her. But if she doesn’t go to the Games in Tokyo, her double mate in the Dutch team, Demi Schuurs, can’t go to the Games either. And the union has set the requirement that anyone who wants to go to the Games must also be available for the Fed Cup team. The doubt with Kiki was because she is not selfish. She doesn’t want to disappoint Demi.
She does not want to disappoint the Dutch public either, and certainly not when the Wateringse plays in its back garden – The Hague. That is why she immediately left the track disappointed after the narrowly lost double match against Aryna Sabalenka and Aliaksandra Sasnovich. She was also absent from the press conference. “She is sick of this defeat. She is so deeply involved and so eager to win for the team and the public that she is now mentally, but also physically unable to speak to the press, “said team captain Paul Haarhuis. “If you know that it comes from an intense experience and involvement, that is actually very beautiful again,” says Haarhuis.