Posts Tagged ‘2011 Hopman Cup.

08
Jan
11

USA wins the cup, but Nicolas Mahut steals the show!

The United States remains well and truly the most successful Hyundai Hopman Cup nation with the team of Bethanie Mattek-Sands and John Isner claiming their sixth victory inside Perth’s Burswood Dome in front of a crowd of 8564 people. The USA team came into Hyundai Hopman Cup XXIII unseeded but played outstanding tennis all week dominating Group B beating France’s Kristina Mladenovic and Nicolas Mahut 3-0, Italy’s Francesca Schiavone and Potito Starace 2-1 and Great Britain’s Laura Robson and Andy Murray 3-0. Mattek-Sands and Isner took on the Belgium team of Justine Henin and Ruben Bemelmans in the Final after they replaced the Serbian team of Ana Ivanovic and Novak Djokovic when Ivanovic suffered a slight stomach tear.

”It’s been an amazing week. It’s my first time in Perth and I’ve really enjoyed myself. It’s funny, I saw this (diamond tennis ball trophy) actually when I first got here and I thought it was the best trophy in sports,” Mattek-Sands said. ”This is one of the best run events of the WTA Tour of the year. It’s fantastic. There was a really strong field this year, there was great players; Ana, Justine, Djokovic, Hewitt. I hope everyone enjoyed watching some great tennis this week.” Isner made his debut at last year’s Hopman Cup and was delighted to return, and to partner Mattek-Sands to form a winning team. He was also happy to bounce back from a tough loss to Murray. ”I’ve got to thank Bethanie; her back’s got to be hurting from carrying me all week. She was rock solid all week long,” Isner said.

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07
Jan
11

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.”

06
Jan
11

Serbs relax on the Swan River and move on to the final.

Serbia booked their place in the Hopman Cup final after world number three Novak Djokovic beat Belgium’s Ruben Bemelmans 6-3 6-2 in Perth. The top seeds had already defeated Kazakhstan and Australia and needed to win only one rubber in their final Group A match against Belgium. In the opening rubber, Belgium’s Justine Henin continued her comeback with a 6-4 6-3 win over Ana Ivanovic. Henin and Bemelmans took the mixed doubles 3-6 6-4 10-4 to seal a 2-1 win.

Serbia will take on Italy, the United States or France in Saturday’s final, with the Group B standings to be decided on Friday when Great Britain, who are already eliminated, take on the US and Italy face France.

06
Jan
11

Henin brings Ivanovic back down to reality with an easy victory.

Belgium remains alive at Hyundai Hopman Cup XXIII after Justine Henin won her sixth straight career meeting with Serbia’s Ana Ivanovic 6-4, 6-3 at Thursday’s Session 9 inside Perth’s Burswood Dome. Belgium remains an outside chance of qualifying for Saturday’s Final as Ruben Bemelmans now needs to defeat world No. 3 Novak Djokovic, and then Henin and Bemelmans need to win the mixed doubles, but at least Henin has kept them alive. If Djokovic beats Bemelmans, or he and Ivanovic win the mixed doubles they automatically go through to the Final.

Henin is playing her first tournament since injuring her elbow at last year’s Wimbledon, but she has now been outstanding in her three singles victories beating Australia’s Alicia Molik, Kazakhstan’s Sesil Karatantcheva and now Ivanovic. The former world No. 1 and winner of seven Grand Slam tournaments showed that despite six months out she is still one of the finest players in the game. She did have to fight back in the first set after dropping the opening two games to Ivanovic as well. She managed to do that and break Ivanovic’s serve twice and win the set 6-4 in 41 minutes. Henin was able to quickly go to a 3-1 lead then in the second set and despite Ivanovic trying her best to get back into it, the Belgian great was able to close it out 6-3.

Henin was happy with the way she played to remain undefeated against Ivanovic from six meetings and she now is backing in Bemelmans to upset Djokovic. ”I’m really happy the way I played. I had a tough start, my energy was pretty low at the beginning of the match and I was bit sleepy and the time. She put a lot of pressure at the beginning and after that I just tried to come back into the court, take every opportunity at the net and be aggressive at the returns, so I can be very happy with the way I played,” Henin said. ”I just tried to put a lot of pressure on her backhand and I tried to lead more down the line or so and on the return it was the key of the match to put a lot of pressure and up to the net.

”Today I had a good fighting period and a good attitude was going to be also the key. The motivation was high and I wanted to win this match and Belgium is still alive and still going. I’m behind Ruben for the next match. It’s going to be tough, but still I believe in him.”

05
Jan
11

BMS scores big over Schiavone to put USA ahead.

Bethanie Mattek-Sands stunned world number seven Francesca Schiavone to set the United States on their way to a 2-1 win over Italy in their Hopman Cup Group B clash. Mattek-Sands triumphed 6-4 6-4 before John Isner sealed victory with a hard-fought 7-6 (7/5) 4-6 6-4 victory over Potito Starace. The Italians did clinch victory in the mixed doubles, though, as Schiavone and Starace pulled off a 6-7(5/7) 6-2 10-3 win to keep their hopes alive. The US now need just two more rubbers to guarantee their place in the final on Saturday.

“I worked pretty hard during the off-season and I had to hang in with Francesca, she’s a great player. That last game, I mean I was running side to side, but it was a great match,” Mattek-Sands said. The 25-year-old revealed she has been happy with the work she has done with her new coach Adam Altschuler. She added: “I’ve been without a coach for a long time, I’ve had a hitting partner here and there, but I was really picky with the coach. “I really wanted someone that believed in my game, I play aggressive and not a lot of people take chances like me. I needed to find someone that liked that style and believed in me.”

Isner claimed coming through a tough match would stand him in good stead for the rest of the competition. “It was definitely a good match to win, coming from behind could help me in the future,” he said. “I lost my serve three times and it doesn’t happen that often, but I’d rather win the match like this than win one where I didn’t lose my serve. This is going to give me some confidence going forward.”

04
Jan
11

Serbians roll through Aussie’s in Perth.

Novak Djokovic comfortably handled Lleyton Hewitt 6-2, 6-4 as Serbia stayed unbeaten at the Hopman Cup by sweeping Australia 3-0 on Tuesday. Ana Ivanovic produced another impressive performance to see off Alicia Molik 6-4, 6-0 and win the first point for Serbia despite suffering an injury scare in the second set when she appeared to overextend her left knee. Djokovic and Ivanovic then combined to win the doubles 6-7 (5), 6-4 (10-6 tiebreaker). Serbia leads Group A with two wins from two ties and can reach Saturday’s final by winning one of the three matches against Belgium in their last round-robin tie on Thursday. Earlier, Belgium eliminated Kazakhstan 3-0 to stay in contention. Australia, also with one win, plays Kazakhstan on Thursday. Djokovic, who has won his last four matches against Hewitt on the ATP Tour, saved four break points at 2-2 then won four games on the trot to take the first set 6-2. Egged on by a pocket of noisy Serbian supporters, the 3rd-ranked Djokovic broke Hewitt in the second game, only for the Australian to break straight back. The next games went with serve until Hewitt suffered the heartbreak of double-faulting twice at 5-4 to hand Djokovic the win. “I played great, especially the beginning of the second I was playing some of the best tennis I’ve played in this year and a half,” Djokovic said. “We players have great respect for him (Hewitt) because he’s a big fighter, he keeps on coming back. He’s won everything—Grand Slam, world No. 1, Davis Cup—and he wants more, so you have to respect that.”

Ivanovic was relieved to feel OK after overextending her left knee midway through a point while leading Molik by a set and 3-0. Ivanovic managed to finish off the set 6-0. “I was a little bit scared because in that one split step that I made I went a little bit low and I felt a sharp pain in my knee,” Ivanovic said. “So I thought I better check with the doctors and see what they think. I’m going to go see them afterwards. But it feels fine. “We had some really tough points and good rallies. I think it was high-class tennis considering it’s just the beginning of the year.”

03
Jan
11

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.”

02
Jan
11

Top seeded Serbia make a winning start at the Hopman Cup in Perth.

Ivanovic opened the tie with a 7-6 (8-6) 6-1 victory over Yaroslava Shvedova, before Djokovic battled past Andrey Golubev 4-6 6-3 6-1. Djokovic and Ivanovic then won the mixed doubles 7-6 (7-2) 6-4 to seal a 3-0 victory for Serbia.

Ivanovic has been talking of a return this year to the kind of form that won her the French Open and took her to number one in the world in 2008, before a desperate loss of form and confidence saw her tumble down the rankings. She had fought her way back to 17th by the end of 2010 but made a nervous start to her first match of the new year, trading five successive breaks of serve with world number 36 Shvedova. However, Ivanovic edged the tie-break and dominated from then on, saying afterwards: “I think we were both really nervous and it was so hard to hold our serves at first. “I started to serve a little bit better in the tie-break and then in the second set.”

Djokovic, fresh from guiding Serbia to a first Davis Cup win last month, also made a slow start against the talented Golubev and dropped the opening set, but a break at the start of the second got the world number three back on track.

01
Jan
11

Ana attends the Hopman Cup Ball.

Ana Ivanovic attended the New Year’s Ball in Perth last night.Novak arrived just in time for the Ball, and we remembered how enjoyable the first one we went to was, five years ago, when Novak sang! One of the highlights of the evening was meeting Mrs Hopman, who is in her 90s and traveled from Florida especially for the Cup. It was so nice to meet her, and many people I remember from when I played here in 2006. The theme for the Ball was “Love, Peace and Tennis”, and there was music from the ’60s, which we enjoyed dancing to. When it comes to putting on fun events, the organizers here really are the best. Before and during the whole event they really spoil the players.

“I didn’t see much of Perth during my last visit but this time I have visited some beautiful beaches. It’s like a postcard: white sands and the blue Indian Ocean. The only problem is the danger of shark attacks. The other day we were preparing to go to one of the main beaches in the city but it was closed because three Tiger sharks were spotted just 80 metres from the shore. A few hours later the beach was full of people again, with many people swimming in the sea…but we didn’t feel like going into the water by then!!”

01
Jan
11

Aussies take a lead against Belgium at the Hopman cup.

Justine Henin and Lleyton Hewitt both made winning returns from injury to leave their Hopman Cup tie finely poised in Perth. Former world number one Henin, in her first match since picking up a career-threatening elbow injury six months ago, overcame Alicia Molik 6-4 6-4 to put Belgium 1-0 up against Australia. “It’s my first match in a few months and I’m coming back from nowhere with the elbow injury so at least it wasn’t an easy opponent to play first,” the world number 12 told hopmancup.com. “She changed the rhythm a lot and on my serve I had to work very hard to try to serve with no pain.

“It’s feeling much better and I won, which is the most important thing. I still can’t play 100 per cent free of pain, but it’s getting better. “A few weeks ago I really didn’t know if I was going to be able to play in Australia and I’ve been working so hard, and I’m glad that I’m almost there. Now I have to build my confidence back and find the rhythm of matches again.” However, Belgium’s lead did not last long as Hewitt – in his first competitive action since hurting his hand in September – got the hosts back on level terms with a 6-4 6-3 triumph over Ruben Bemelmans.

In the doubles the Aussie pair came back after losing the first set 6-1 to win in a tie breaker.




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