WORCESTER, Mass. (AP) — Christina McHale beat Anastasiya Yakimova 6-0, 6-4 and gave the United States a 1-0 lead over Belarus on Saturday in the first round of the Fed Cup.
Yakimova was a late substitute for top-ranked Victoria Azarenka. The Australian Open champion withdrew earlier the day because of a sore lower back. Azarenka is eligible to play Sunday.
Serena Williams plays Olga Govortsova in Saturday’s second match of this best-of-five series in World Group II.
McHale won the first 10 games, then survived a scare in the second set when Yakimova rallied from 4-0 to tie it. Yakimova didn’t appear ready early, but pushed the young American in the second set before McHale closed it out. She broke Yakimova, then held serve after falling behind love-30 and then winning five straight points.