The fact that Greet Minnen finished a match as a member of the national team for the first time, showed himself in nerves and mistakes at the start of the match. Shimanovic started strong and kept the score 2-2. That was the fourth most convincing match from the Belgian side, which later led to a major power grab. Minin put the first half on the board via an empty game, followed by a similar score on his own serve: 4-2. The increased self-confidence was also demonstrated by the impressive touchdown shot that put the 24-year-old Antwerp on her way to 5-2.
“Since the third match, I’ve been able to control my nerves,” Minin says. “I started playing more and more freely. With such a difficult start, it is always good to have a coach like Johan next to the field who always remains calm. I get a lot of support from him, but also from the rest of the team. I also stayed completely calm, despite that start difficult. I’m proud of that.”
There was no longer any stage fright for the debutante, though Shimanovic struggled with appeal for a while. Thanks to a strong serve, Minin always held the reins in the second set. Nearly 200 places in the world standings: This class difference showed itself in almost every rally. At 5-1, the first match point was scored, which had not yet been converted into a netball win. The following version was caught – in beauty moreover -: 6-2.
More than just a great reward for this victory: Greet Minnen got a footnote in the Tennis Big Book. It’s forever and a day as the first player to win a victory in this renewed tournament – a different formula, a different name. “It is great to be such a small part of tennis history in this way. Of course it would have been more fun if I could experience this moment at home in front of a house full of Belgian fans, but I am very satisfied with my debut.”
This way Minin was able to cross something off her to-do list again. “It has always been my dream to play tennis for the national team. At the beginning of last year against Kazakhstan, I was already part of the team, without ever going to the court. I appreciate this very much, of course.”
Summit Trump Elise Mertens
The fact that Belarus had traveled to Prague without the superb duo Arina Sabalenka (WTA 2) and Victoria Azarenka (WTA 27) gave the national chances a big shot. Primus in Belarus is now Aliaksandra Sasnovich, number 86 in the world. The rest of the team consisted of envoys from the deeper levels of the WTA rankings. On the other hand, Belgian captain Johan van Herjk can count on his first trump card, Elise Mertens, who has been a regular in the singles sub-division for many years and ranked first in the world as a doubles player.
Was it a statement that Mertens pulled out of her bag with a strong comeback on her first opponent’s serve? That’s how it looked anyway. Mertens immediately passed through Sasnovich’s dispatch, which she repeated shortly after. With this double break, 3-0 was achieved, a result achieved in part thanks to a little bit of chaos on the other side. “In that first set, I made some mistakes, which made it easier for me. That victory helped me in the first match as well.”
Mertens was full in three sets in Luxembourg mid-September with the Belarusian, who recently beat Simona Halep and Emma Raducano. So it would not be such a bios. The Belarusian responded with a 3-1, 3-2 rebound break. However, it was just a short-lived flare-up: 6-2.
Sasnovich showed much more resistance in the second set. After an impressive 2-2 victory, Mertens invited the Belgian spy chief in Prague – about 30 people – to join her with a nod. It was also necessary, because the 26-year-old Belarusian significantly raised her level: 4-6. In the clincher, Mertens made good use of Sasnovich’s growing error to reach 2-0. The 26-year-old Belarusian continued to alternate beautiful moments with big mistakes. Her clumsy smash led to 5-2. The match point also followed this pattern. A wild wave from Sasnovich was accepted by Mertens with thanks: 6-2, 4-6, 6-2.
my husband is a man
With this 2-0 result, Belgium was already sure of beating Belarus, but a clean sheet did not work. Coach Johan van Herk has paired Elise Mertens with Kirsten Flipkens for a (plus?) double play. Although Mertens has emerged as the world’s uber-specialist in this sideshow entertainment this year, it hasn’t worked out. Thanks to, among other things, strong Belarusian Vera Labko won the consolation prize: 6-4, 6-3. turn. “We lacked rhythm and the other team played well,” Mertens said. “Things like that only happen in tennis. I prefer to remember that we won my single.”
Coach Johann van Herjk Mertens put between the lines in the final double match at the expense of Ysaline Bonaventure. “After the singles, we sat down with the four girls for a while, also to check how Elise was feeling physically. We quickly made the decision to put together our best possible team,” says Van Herk. “In such a small competition, every point can count. So it’s better to win 3-0 than 2-1. Unfortunately, things didn’t go as hoped. Belarus played tennis hard, everything conquered them. Of course I would have preferred to win. In all three matches, but let’s stay positive. For me, after that first day, the cup was still more than half full. If we win all the international matches 2-1, I will be very happy.”
Belgium should/may be back on track against Australia at 10.30am on Tuesday – without Ash Barty and Samantha Stosur. Winning means a place in the last four, which is the great ambition of the Tricolor Company. Van Herk: “Early on I saw it as unfavorable to play two days in a row, but now I look at it differently. We got to know the track in competition conditions, which is an experience that we hope will help us on Tuesday. In addition, we don’t have any very difficult matches. in the legs, so recovery shouldn’t be a big deal.”