Christina McHale earns her first Fed Cup win against Anastasiya Yakimova.
© Jared Gruenwald
By Erin Bruehl, USTA.com
WORCESTER, Mass. – Christina McHale dominated early and then overcame some second-set nerves to defeat Anastasiya Yakimova, 6-0, 6-4, for her first career Fed Cup victory and to give the U.S. a 1-0 lead over Belarus in their World Group II tie.
Yakimova was a late substitute in the match for world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka, who pulled out with a lower back injury. Azarenka could still play her scheduled matches Sunday.
"It feels amazing to win my first Fed Cup match in a home tie," McHale, 19, said.
McHale, the world No. 38, dominated the first set with outstanding serving to set up and take control of the points, as Yakimova struggled with her serve and with errors.
She seemed to easily be on her way to the victory with a 4-0 lead in the second, but Yakimova earned her first break chances of the match down 4-1, which she converted to crawl back to 4-2 when McHale double faulted for the first time.
Yakimova then held and broke McHale at love in her next service game to bring the set to 4-all, as the American struggled landing her first serves.
But McHale continued fighting, breaking back in the next game as Yakimova hit her eighth double fault of the match to give her a break point, which she converted when Yakimova hit a ball wide left for a 5-4 lead.
She took the ball to serve out the match but quickly fell down, 0-30. The crowd rallied behind her, and after Yakimova hit a return into the net, McHale smacked a winner down the line for 30-all to roars from the fans. She earned her first Fed Cup win and put her country ahead when Yakimova missed wide and then hit a return long.
Serena Williams next faces Olga Govortsova in the second singles match.