Kiki Bertens cancelled out Aliaksandra Sasnovich's opening rubber victory to draw Netherlands level with Belarus in their World Group first round clash in Minsk
One point. That’s all Belarus needed to write one of the most sensational opening day stories in the history of Fed Cup by BNP Paribas tennis.
Incredibly, 18-year-old Aryna Sabalenka, playing fearlessly in her first Fed Cup singles match, had match point against the world No. 24 Kiki Bertens which, had she converted, would have given the hosts a totally unexpected 2-0 lead.
Instead somehow Bertens stayed mentally strong, even when a little voice inside her must surely have been telling her that it was not going to be her day, and she came back from the brink to win 36 76(6) 64 to square the tie for the Netherlands.
It’s one thing to be able to swing away freely as the underdog, quite another to do so with the unerring accuracy that Sabalenka did off both flanks time after time. At no point in the match did the young Belarussian ever contemplate defeat – even when five-love down in the second set tie break, which was when she forced match point.
“I just said to myself, ‘Okay Aryna, you have nothing to lose’. So I just played aggressive and showed my best tennis again.”