An Ivanovic injury forces Sebia to withdraw from the Hopman Cup final.

Bethanie Mattek-Sands put the US into the weekend final of the Hopman Cup mixed team event against Belgium, which was to substitute for Serbia, forced to retire due to an injury. A stomach muscle tear to Ana Ivanovic forced group winner Serbia to withdraw from the Saturday title match. A 3-0 win earlier in the day by France over Italy failed to prevent the US from going through as Mattek-Sands beat teenaged Laura Robson 6-4, 6-2.

Earlier, French teenager Kristina Mladenovic spent less than 30 minutes on court before Roland Garros winner Francesca Schiavone had to retire with a groin strain at 4-4. Nicolas Mahut of France seized the momentum to complete the win as he beat Potito Starace 6-3, 7-6 (7-2).

Injured Ivanovic said doctors diagnosed a grade 1, or relatively minor, tear of an abdominal muscle, with the 2008 French Open winner now facing a fight for fitness with the Australian Open starting a week from Monday. The injury forced the Serb to also withdraw form next week’s WTA event in Sydney and will prevent her and Novak Djokovic form bidding for a first title at Perth’s Burswood Dome. “I’m very disappointed, I really felt we worked hard to get here and we had the chance to play the final,” Ivanovic said. “It’s not a huge injury, but it’s stupid and bad timing.” Ivanovic said she first felt the problem in the second set of her match Thursday against Belgian Justine Henin. Then during practice earlier Friday, “on one serve I felt a sharp pain,” she said. “After that I couldn’t hit any more. I stopped straight away and went to see the doctor.” She said she was doing her best to stay positive. “At least I have a week before the Open. My chances to play are good,” she said. “The doctors said I will need three or four rest days and then maybe gradual treatment like icing and laser. Hopefully I can start doing the bicycle in a few days.”


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