30 Dec 2013

France and USA show their strength in Perth

News Article

Sloane Stephens (USA)

PERTH, AUSTRALIA: In their first time playing together, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Alize Cornet have combined to upset their more favoured Czech opponents, Radek Stepanek and Petra Kvitova, 6-1 6-3 and in the process hand the French a 2-1 triumph.

Earlier Tsonga showed no signs of jetlag in a polished performance to dismiss Czech Davis Cup hero Stepanek 6-1 6-4, while former Wimbledon champion Kvitova had a harder time of it, drawing the tie level with a gutsy 6-1 3-6 7-5 win over a determined Cornet.

Despite admitting to feeling tired having only flown in from the Middle East on Sunday, French world No.10 Tsonga was satisfied with his performance against the former world No.8.

“(I’m) happy to beat Radek because he’s a good player. He won a few times, you know, the Davis Cup and ah it’s never easy to play against him,” Tsonga said.

Kvitova was pleased to survive a tense third set against the dogged French No.1 Cornet.

“Yeah she came back in the second set and it was very close in the third and it was just by a few points, so I just tried to play aggressively for the important points, but sometimes it didn’t come through well for me, but I win and it’s important that we have one up,” Kvitova said.

Meanwhile, the United States got their bid for a record seventh Hopman Cup off to an ideal start, seeing off 2013 champions Spain 3-0.

Sloane Stephens started the day downing Anabel Medina Garrigues 6-3 6-1 before Isner beat 194th-ranked Daniel Munoz-De La Nava 6-3 6-4.

The US then made it a clean sweep after coming from a set down to win the mixed doubles 4-6 6-0 10-4.

“I felt good. I thought it was a good way to start the year off,” Stephens said.

“For years and years I’ve wanted to play at the Hopman Cup. I love it here and hopefully I’ll get invited back.”

For Munoz-De La Nava, he could make no inroads on Isner’s cracking serve, which consistently clocked above the 200km/h mark.

“It’s pretty tough because he’s serving like an animal,” Munoz-De La Nava said.

“He’s changing the serve all the time. All directions. It’s tough to return. I tried my best, but if you lose your serve against John, it’s impossible to win.”

Session 5: USA 3-0 Spain
Sloane Stephens (USA) d. Anabel Medina Garrigues (ESP) 63 61
John Isner (USA) d. Daniel Munoz de la Nava (ESP) 63 64
John Isner/Sloane Stephens (USA) d. Anabel Medina Garrigues/Daniel Munoz de la Nava (ESP) 46 60 10-4

Session 6: France 2-1 Czech Republic
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga d. Radek Stepanek (CZE) 61 64
Petra Kvitova (CZE) d. Alize Cornet (FRA) 61 36 75
A. Cornet/J.W. Tsonga (USA) d. P. Kvitova/R.Stepanek (CZE) 6-1 6-3