Coco Vandeweghe claimed the perfect start for the USA in the Fed Cup final as the away team clinched a pivotal victory over home team Belarus in the opening rubber, with Aliaksandra Sasnovich just falling short to the world number 10 in straight sets with a tight 4-6, 4-6 scoreline. The American gave the USA a 1-0 lead and ensured that they will not head into the second day as the trailing team.
Early nerves for Sasnovich
Pressure certainly affected Sasnovich in the early stages of the opening rubber. Playing in front of a home crowd and fighting for a first-ever world title for your own country, yet coming into the match as the underdogs. The amount of pressure which the Belarusian had to deal with was unbelievable, and she inevitably committed a slew of unforced errors in the opening game to gift the first break of serve to Vandeweghe, who made a wise decision to receive. The American then easily consolidated the break before Sasnovich finally got onto the scoreboard with a tight service hold, much to the delight of the home crowd.
Vandeweghe takes the first set
Vandeweghe looked to be invincible on her serve, with her solid and powerful serves being untouchable, literally and figuratively. The set went on serve with Sasnovich being able to force errors from the American and she started to find some consistency in her groundstrokes. Despite only being separated by one break of serve, the match felt one-sided as Vandeweghe often controlled play and also earned another break point in the seventh game. Sasnovich fended off the break point and remained in contention with another tough hold, but despite her toughest efforts, Vandeweghe ultimately served out the first set 6-4.
Vandeweghe earns the early lead in the second set
The rubber seemed to be over when all the momentum went to Vandeweghe, who grabbed the break in the opening game of the second set. Unexpectedly, Sasnovich showed some life in her game by retrieving the break back and leveled the scores immediately. However, nothing was going right for the home player on her serve as the American regained her lead with some impressive offensive style of tennis.
Opening rubber goes to the USA
This match started to be dominated by service holds as proved by three consecutive love holds which followed, but things started to get interesting when Vandeweghe looked on course for yet another comfortable hold. She started to commit a handful of unforced errors and coupled with the partisan crowd, the American got frustrated with herself as she got broken from 40-0 up within a blink of an eye.
Nonetheless, the new top-10 member was able to regain her composure quickly and soon earned the golden opportunity to serve out the match. Despite facing the pressure, Vandeweghe eventually relied on her strong serves and clinched the opening win for team USA.
Stats Corner: Sasnovich too inconsistent for the inspired Vandeweghe
Sasnovich produced too many unforced errors throughout the 93-minute encounter, with 27 of them coming off her racquet compared to just 22 from the American. However, Vandeweghe also came up with more winners than her opponent, blasting 12 winners together with an incredible eight aces to just six winners from the Belarusian. Vandeweghe also claimed 71 percent of points behind her powerful first serves, which had an average speed of 110 mph.