Italy wins 2-1 over Great Britain at the Hopman Cup.

ITALY hit back in the mixed doubles of Session 3 of Hyundai Hopman Cup XXIII with Francesca Schiavone and Potito Starace beating Great Britain’s Laura Robson and Andy Murray two rubbers to one at Perth’s Burswood Dome today. The Italians made a winning start to the Tie with world No. 7 Schiavone beating Robson 7-5, 6-3 and then world No. 4 Murray was able to level at one rubber apiece as he beat Starace 7-5, 6-1. That set up a deciding mixed doubles rubber and Robson and Murray gave the Brits a good start winning the first set in a tie-break seven points to one. It was then another tie-break in the second and this time it was the Italians prevailing eight points to six to force the Match Tie-break. There Schiavone and Starace proved too good winning 10 points to two to give the No. 4 seeds a perfect start to the tournament against the second seeded Great Britain.

In the women’s singles Schiavone survived a first set scare to beat Robson 7-5, 6-3. While the 30-year-old was taking on a rising star in Robson almost half her age at 16, the Brit took it right up to Schiavone especially in the first set continuing the form from last year’s Hyundai Hopman Cup Final that saw her win her women’s singles match over Spain’s Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez. The set stayed on serve right through the first seven games until Robson was able to stun the world No. 7 to move to a 5-3 lead. Schiavone’s quality and experience wouldn’t allow her to go down, though, and she broke straight back and went on to take the set 7-5 in 48 minutes. It looked like the Italian was then going to cruise through the second set when she asserted her dominance, and while Robson was able to find some touch again and close to 3-5, the Italian was too strong and won the second set 6-3.

Schiavone is glad to be back at the Hyundai Hopman Cup for the fourth year and it’s a tournament she has always enjoyed especially to try and win another trophy for Italy after last year’s Fed Cup triumph. “To me it’s fantastic to come back. I’m happy to be here. The people here are very nice and every time that I come up here they give me a lot,” Schiavone said. “After playing here I always go to the Australian Open with big energy, so I enjoy this tennis.”

Following Schiavone’s win over Robson, Murray had to step up and take care of business against Starace to keep Britain alive and he was able to do that with a 7-5, 6-1 win. It was an even affair in the first set with the games remaining on serve until Murray was able to break Starace to claim the set 7-5 after avoiding the tie-break. The Brit then dominated the second set dropping just the one game as he showed ominous form. It was similar to what he showed at last year’s Hopman Cup when he helped Britain to the Final and then went from Perth to the Australian Open where he made the final as well. Murray was happy with the way he played to beat Starace considering it was his first match in 2011 after a bit of a lay-off to end last year. “It was a tough match today. It’s so hot, so humid in here I was struggling a little bit with my breathing, but it was really good atmosphere and great on a Monday to have a full crowd,” Murray said. “I didn’t feel very fit today, I was breathing so hard after four or five games, so hopefully that will improve over the next couple of weeks, but that’s the goal to try and beat those guys in the big events and try and win my first Grand Slam.”


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